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Known are their laws ; in harmony unroll 

The nineteen-orbed cycles of the Moon. 

And all the signs through which Night whirls her car 

From belted Orion back to Orion and his dauntless Hound, 

And all Poseidon's, all high Zeus' stars 

Bear on their beams true messages to man." 

Poste's Aratus. 




London : Caxton House, Paternoster Square 


> • 







In the pages that follow, the author has endeavored to 
encourage the study of the heavenly bodies by pointing out 
some of the interesting and marvelous phenomena of the uni- 
verse that are visible with little or no assistance from optical 
instruments, and indicating means of becoming acquainted 
with the constellations and the planets. Knowing that an 
opera-glass iiS capable of Tevealins: some of the most beautiful 
sights in the starry dome, and believing that many persons 
would be glad to iearn the fact, he set to work with such an 
instrument and surveyed all the constellations visible in the 
latitude of New York, carefully noting everything that it 
seemed might interest amateur star-gazers. All the objects 
thus observed have not been included in this book, lest the 
multiplicity of details should deter or discourage the very 
readers for whom it was specially written. On the other 
hand, there is nothing described as visible with an opera-glass 
or a field-glass which the author has not seen with an instru- 
ment of that description, and which any person possessing eye- 
sight of average quality and a competent glass should not be 
able to discern. 

But, in order to lend due interest to the subject, and place 
it before the reader in a proper light and true perspective, 
many facts have been stated concerning the objects described, 
the ascertainment of which has required the aid of powerful 
telescopes, and to observers with such instruments is reserved 
the noble pleasure of confirming with their own eyes those 


wonderful discoveries which the looker with an opera-glass 
can not hope to behold unless, happily, he should be spurred 
on to the possession of a telescope. Yet even to glimpse dimly 
these distant wonders, knowing what a closer view would re- 
veal, is a source of no mean satisfaction, while the celestial 
phenomena that lie easily within reach of an opera-glass are 
sufficient to furnish delight and instruction for many an 

It should be said that the division of the stars used in this 
book into the '' Stars of Spring," *' Stars of Summer," '^ Stars 
of Autumn," and '^ Stars of Winter," is purely arbitrary, and 
intended only to indicate the seasons when certain constella- 
tions are best situated for observation or most conspicuous. 

The greater part of the matter composing this volume ap- 
peared originally in a series of articles contributed by the au- 
thor to ''The Popular Science Monthly" in 1887-'88. The 
reception that those articles met with encouraged him to re- 
vise and enlarge them for publication in the more permanent 
form of a book. 

G. P. S. 

Brooklyn, N. Y., September, 1S88. 



Introduction . 1 

Popular interest in the phenomena of the heavens. 
The opera-glass as an instrument of observation for beginners in star- 

Testing an opera-glass. 

The Stars of Spring 7 

Description of the Constellations — Auriga, the Charioteer; Berenice's 
Hair ; Cancer, the Crab [the Manger] ; Canis Minor, the Lesser Dog ; Cor- 
vus, the Crow ; Crateris, the Cup ; Gemini, the Twins ; Hydra, the Water- 
Serpent ; Leo, the Lion ; Ursa Major, the Greater Bear [the Great Dipper] ; 
Ursa Minor, the Lesser Bear [the Pole-Star]. 

A circular index-map, maps on a larger scale, of the constellations de- 
scribed, and pictures of remarkable objects. 

The Stars op Summer 30 

Description of the Constellations — Aquila, the Eagle ; Bootes, the Herds- 
man, or Bear-Diver; Canes Venatici, the Hunting-Dogs; Cygnus, the 
Swan [the Northern Cross] ; Delphinus, the Dolphin; Draco, the Dragon; 
Hercules [the Great Sun-Swarra, 13 M] ; Libra, the Balance ; Lyra, the 
Harp ; the Northern Crown ; Ophiuchus et Serpens, the Serpent-bearer and 
the Serpent; Sagitta, the Arrow; Sagittarius, the Archer; Scorpio, the 
Scorpion ; Sobieski's Shield ; Taurus Poniatowskii, Poniatowsky's Bull ; 
Virgo, the Virgin [the Field of the Nebulae] ; Vulpecula, the Little Fox. 

A circular index-map, maps, on a larger scale, of the constellations de- 
scribed, and pictures of remarkable objects. 

The Stars of Autumn 60 

Description of the Constellations — Andromeda [the Great Nebula]; 
Aquarius, the Water-Bearer ; Aries, the Ram ; Capricornus, the Goat ; 
Cassiopeia; Cepheus; Cetus, the Whale [Mira, the wonderful variable 
star] ; Pegasus, the Winged Horse. 



Perseus [Algol, the Demon-Star] ; Pisces, the Fishes ; Piscis Australia, 
the Southern Fish ; the Triangles. 

A circular index-map, maps on a larger scale, of the constellations de- 
scribed, and pictures of remarkable objects. 

The Stars of Winter 89 

Description of the Constellations — Argo, Jason's Ship; Canis Major, 
the Great Dog [Sirius] ; Eridanus, the river Po ; Lepus, the Hare ; Mo- 
noceros, the Unicorn; Orion [the Great Nebula]; Taurus, the Bull [the 
Pleiades and Hyades]. 

A circular index-map, maps on a larger scale, of the constellations de- 
scribed, and pictures of remarkable objects. 

The Moon, the Planets, and the Sun 118 

Description of lunar " seas," mountains, and " craters," with a map of 
the moon, and cuts showing its appearance with a field-glass. 

Opera-glass observation of — The sun (one cut). Mercury, Venus, Mars, 
Jupiter and his satellites (one cut), Saturn, Uranus (three cuts). 



Stae- GAZING was never more popular than it is now. In 
every civilized country many excellent telescopes are owned 
and used, often to very good purpose, by persons who are 
not practical astronomers, but who wish to see for themselves 
the marvels of the sky, and who occasionally stumble upon 
something that is new even to professional star-gazers. Yet, 
notwithstanding this activity in the cultivation of astronomi- 
cal studies, it is probably safe to assert that hardly one per- 
son in a hundred knows the chief stars by name, or can even 
recognize the principal constellations, much less distinguish 
the planets from the fixed stars. And of course they know 
nothing of the intellectual pleasure that accompanies a 
knowledge of the stars. Modern astronomy is so rapidly 
and wonderfully linking the earth and the sun together, with 
all the orbs of space, in the bonds of close physical relation- 
ship, that a person of education and general intelligence can 
offer no valid excuse for not knowing where to look for Sirius 
or Aldebaran, or the Orion nebula, or the planet Jupiter. 
As Australia and New Zealand and the islands of the sea are 
made a part of the civilized world through the expanding 
influence of commerce and cultivation, so the suns and plan- 
ets around us are, in a certain sense, falling under the domin- 
ion of the restless and resistless mind of man. We have 
come to possess vested intellectual interests in Mars and Sat- 
urn, and in the sun and all his multitude of fellows, which 
nobody can afford to ignore. 


A singular proof of popular ignorance of the starry heav- 
ens, as well as of popular curiosity concerning any uncom- 
mon celestial phenomenon, is furnished by the curious no- 
tions prevailing about the planet Yenus. When Venus 
began to attract general attention in the western sky in the 
early evenings of the spring of 1887, speculation quickly 
became rife about it, particularly on the great Brooklyn 
Bridge. As the planet hung dazzlingly bright over the 
New Jersey horizon, some people appeared to think it was 
the light of Liberty's torch, mistaking the bronze goddess's 
real flambeau for a part of the electric-light system of the 
metropolis. Finally (to judge from the letters written to the 
newspapers, and the questions asked of individuals sup- 
posed to know something about the secrets of the sky), 
the conviction seems to have become pretty widely distrib- 
uted that the strange light in the west was no less than an 
electrically illuminated balloon, nightly sent skyward by Mr. 
Edison, for no other conceivable reason than a wizardly 
desire to mystify his fellow-men. I have positive informa- 
tion that this ridiculous notion has been actually entertained 
by more than one person of intelligence. And as Venus 
glowed with increasing splendor in the serene evenings of 
June, she continued to be mistaken for some petty arti- 
ficial light instead of the magnificent world that she was, 
sparkling out there in the sunshine like a globe of bur- 
nished silver. Yet Venus as an evening star is not so rare 
a phenomenon that people of intelligence should be surprised 
at it. Once in every 584 days she reappears at the same 
place in the sunset sky — 

** Gem of the crimson-colored even, 
Companion of retiring day." 

No eye can fail to note her, and as the nearest and most 
beautiful of the Earth's sisters it would seem that every- 
body should be as familiar with her appearance as with the 


face of a friend. But the popular ignorance of Yenus, and 
the other members of the planetary family to which our 
mother, the Earth, belongs, is only an index of the denser 
ignorance concerning the stars — the brothers of our great 
father, the Sun. I believe this ignorance is largely due to 
mere indifference, which, in its turn, arises from a false and 
pedantic method of presenting astronomy as a creature of 
mathematical formulae, and a humble handmaiden of the 
art of navigation. I do not, of course, mean to cast doubt 
upon the scientific value of technical work in astronomy. 
The science could not exist without it. Those who have 
made the spectroscope reveal the composition of the sun 
and stars, and who are now making photography picture 
the heavens as they are, and even reveal phenomena which 
lie beyond the range of human vision, are the men who have 
taken astronomy out of its swaddling-clothes, and set it on 
its feet as a progressive science. But when one sees the 
depressing and repellent effect that has evidently been pro- 
duced upon the popular mind by the ordinary methods of 
presenting astronomy, one can not resist the temptation to 
utter a vigorous protest, and to declare that this glorious 
science is not the grinning mathematical skeleton that it 
has been represented to be. 

Perhaps one reason why the average educated man or 
woman knows so little of the starry heavens is because it is 
popularly supposed that only the most powerful telescopes 
and costly instruments of the observatory are capable of deal- 
ing with them. No greater mistake could be made. It does 
not require an optical instrument of any kind, nor much 
labor, as compared with that expended in the acquirement of 
some polished accomplishments regarded as indispensable, to 
give one an acquaintance with the stars and planets which 
will be not only pleasurable but useful. And with the aid 
of an opera-glass most interesting, gratifying, and, in some 
instances, scientifically valuable observations may be made in 


the heavens. I have more than once heard persons who knew 
nothing about the stars, and probably cared less, utter ex- 
clamations of surprise and delight when persuaded to look at 
certain parts of the sky with a good glass, and thereafter 
manifest an interest in astronomy of which they would for- 
merly have believed themselves incapable. 

Being convinced that whoever will survey the heavens 
with a good opera- glass will feel repaid many fold for his 
time and labor, I have undertaken to point out some of the 
objects most worthy of attention, and some of the means of 
making acquaintance with the stars. 

First, a word about the instrument to be used. Galileo 
made his famous discoveries with what was, in principle of 
construction, simply an opera-glass. This form of telescope 
was afterward abandoned because very high magnifying pow- 
ers could not be employed with it, and the field of view was 
restricted. But, on account of its brilliant illumination of 
objects looked at, and its convenience of form, the opera-glass 
is still a valuable and, in some respects, unrivaled instrument 
of observation. 

In choosing an opera-glass, see first that the object-glasses 
are achromatic, although this caution is hardly necessary, for 
all modern opera-glasses, worthy of the name, are made with 
achromatic objectives. But there are great differences in the 
quality of the work. If a glass shows a colored fringe around 
a bright object, reject it. Let the diameter of the object- 
glasses, which are the large lenses in the end farthest from the 
eye, be not less than an inch and a half. The magnifying 
power should be at least three or four diameters. A familiar 
way of estimating the magnifying power is by looking at a 
brick wall through one barrel of the opera-glass with one eye, 
while the other eye sees the wall without the intervention of 
the glass. Then notice how many bricks seen by the naked 
eye are required to equal in thickness one brick seen through 
the glass. That number represents the magnifying power. 


The instrument used by the writer in making most of the 
observations for this book has object-glasses 1*6 inch in diam- 
eter, and a magnifying power of about 3*6 times. 

See that the fields of view given by the two barrels of 
the opera-glass coincide, or blend perfectly together. If one 
appears to partially overlap the other when looking at a 
distant object, the effect is very annoying. This fault arises 
from the barrels of 
the opera-glass being 
placed too far apart, 
so that their optical 
centers do not coin- 
cide with the centers 
of the observer's 

Occasionally, on 
account of faulty cen- 
tering of the lenses, 
a double image is 
given of objects 
looked at, as illus- ' 

trated in the accompanying cut. In such a case the glass is 
worthless ; but if the effect is simply the addition of a small, 
crescent-shaped extension on one side of the field of view 
without any reduplication, the fault may be overlooked, 
though it is far better to select a glass that gives a perfectly 
round field. Some glasses have an arrangement for adjust- 
ing the distance between the barrels to suit the eyes of dif- 
ferent persons, and it would be well if all were made adjust- 
able in the same way. 

Don't buy a cheap glass, but don't waste your money on 
fancy mountings. What the Rev. T. W. Webb says of tele- 
scopes is equally true of opera-glasses: "Inferior articles 
may be showily got up, and the outside must go for nothing." 
There are a few makers whose names, stamped upon the in- 

A VERY Bad Field. 


strument, may generally be regarded as a guarantee of excel- 
lence. But the best test is that of actual performance. I 
have a field-glass which I found in a pawn-shop, that has no 
maker's name upon it, but in some respects is quite capable 
of bearing comparison with the work of the best advertised 
opticians. And this leads me to say that, by the exercise of 
good judgment, one may occasionally purchase superior 
glasses at very reasonable prices in the pawn-shops. Ask to 
be shown the old and well-tried articles ; you may find among 
them a second-hand glass of fine optical properties. If the 
lenses are not injured, one need not trouble one's self about 
the worn appearance of the outside of the instrument ; so 
much the more evidence that somebody has found it well 
worth using. 

A good field or marine glass is in some respects better 
than an opera-glass for celestial observations. It possesses a 
much higher magnifying power, and this gives sometimes a 
decided advantage. But, on the other hand, its field of view 
is smaller, rendering it more difficult to find and hold objects. 
Besides, it does not present as brilliant views of scattered 
star- clusters as an opera- glass does. For the benefit of those 
who possess field-glasses, however, I have included in this 
brief survey certain objects that lie just beyond the reach of 
opera-glasses, but can be seen with the larger instruments. 
I have thought it advisable in the descriptions of the con- 
stellations which follow to give some account of their mytho- 
logical origin, both because of the historical interest which 
attaches to it, and because, while astronomers have long since 
banished the constellation figures from their maps, the names 
which the constellations continue to bear require some ex- 
' planation, and they possess a literary and romantic interest 
which can not be altogether disregarded in a work that is not 
intended for purely scientific readers. 



Having selected your glass, the next thing is to find the 
Stars. Of course, one could sweep over the heavens at ran- 
dom on a starry night and see many interesting things, but 
he would soon tire of such aimless occupation. The observer 
must know what he is looking at in order to derive any real 
pleasure or satisfaction from the sight. 

It really makes no difference at what time of the year 
such observations are begun, but for convenience I will sup- 
pose that they are begun in the spring. We can then follow 
the revolution of the heavens through a year, at the end of 
which the diligent observer will have acquired a competent 
knowledge of the constellations. The circular map, No. 1, 
represents the appearance of the heavens at midnight on the 
1st of March, at eleven o'clock on the 15th of March, at ten 
o'clock on the 1st of April, at nine o'clock on the 15th of 
April, and at eight o'clock on the 1st of May. The reason 
why a single map can thus be made to show the places of the 
stars at different hours in different months will be plain upon 
a little reflection. In consequence of the earth's annual jour- 
ney around the sun, the whole heavens make one apparent 
revolution in a year. This revolution, it is clear, must be at 
the rate of 30° in a month, since the complete circuit com- .. 
prises 360°. But, in addition to the annual revolution, there 
is a diurnal revolution of the heavens which is caused by the 
earth's daily rotation upon its axis, and this revolution must, 
for a similar reason, be performed at the rate of 15° for each 



of the twenty-four hours. It follows that in two hours of tlie 
daily revolution the stars will change their places to the same 

extent as in one month of the annual revolution. It follows 
also that, if one could watch the heavens throughout the 
whole twenty -four hours, and not be interrupted by daylight, 
he would behold the complete circuit of the stars just as he 
would do if, for a year, he should look at the heavens at a 
particular hour every night. Suppose that at nine o'clock on 


the 1st of June we see the star Spica on the meridian ; in 
consequence of the rotation of the earth, two hours later, or 
at eleven o'clock, Spica will be 30° west of the meridian. 
But that is just the position which Spica would occupy 
at nine o'clock on the 1st of July, for in one month (sufh 
posing a month to be accurately the twelfth part of a year) 
the stars shift their places 30° toward the west. If, then, 
we should make a map of the stars for nine o'clock on the 
1st of July, it would answer just as well for eleven o'clock 
on the 1st of June, or for seven o'clock on the 1st of August. 

The center of the map is the zenith, or point overhead. 
The reader must now exercise his imagination a little, for it 
is impossible to represent the true appearance of the concave 
of the heavens on flat paper. Holding the map over your 
head, with the points marked East, West, North, and South 
in their proper places, conceive of it as shaped like the inside 
of an open umbrella, the edge all around extending clear 
down to the horizon. Suppose you are facing the south, then 
you will see, up near the zenith, the constellation of Leo, 
which can be readily recognized on the map by six stars that 
mark out the figure of a sickle standing upright on its handle. 
The large star in the bottom of the handle is Regulus. Hav- 
ing fixed the appearance and situation of this constellation 
in your mind, go out-of-doors, face the south, and try to find 
the constellation in the sky. With a little application you 
will be sure to succeed. 

Using Leo as a basis of operations, your conquest of the 
sky will now proceed more rapidly. By reference to the map 
you will be able to recognize the twin stars of Gemini, south- 
west of the zenith and high up ; the brilliant lone star, Pro- 
cyon, south of Gemini ; the dazzling Sirius, flashing low down 
in the southwest ; Orion, with all his brilliants, blazing in the 
west ; red Aldebaran and the Pleiades off to his right ; and 
Capella, bright as a diamond, high up above Orion, toward 
the north. In the southeast you will recognize the quadri- 


lateral of Corvus, with the remarkably white star Spica glit- 
tering east of it. 

Next face the north. If you are not just sure where 
north is, try a pocket-compass. This advice is by no means 
unnecessary, for there are many intelligent persons who are 
unable to indicate true north within many degrees, though 
standing on their own doorstep. Having found the north 
point as near as you can, look upward about forty degrees 
from the horizon, and you will see the lone twinkler called 
thQ. north or pole star. Forty degrees is a little less than 
half-way from the horizon to the zenith. 

By the aid of the map, again, you will be able to find, 
high up in the northeast, near the zenith, the large dipper- 
shaped figure in Ursa Major, and, when you have once no- 
ticed that the two stars in the outer edge of the bowl of the 
Dipper point almost directly to the pole-star, you will have 
an unfailing means of picking out the latter star hereafter, 
when in doubt.* Continuing the curve of the Dipper-handle, 
in the northeast, your eye will be led to a bright reddish star, 
which is Arc turns, in the constellation Bootes. 

In the same way you will be able to find the constellations 
Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Draco, and Perseus. Don't expect to 
accomplish it all in an hour. You may have to devote two or 
three evenings to such observation, and make many trips in- 
doors to consult the map, before you have mastered the sub- 
ject ; but when you have done it you will feel amply repaid 
for your exertions, and you will have made for yourself silent 
friends in the heavens that will beam kindly upon you, like 
old neighbors, on whatever side of the world you may wander. 

Having fixed the general outlines and location of the con- 
stellations in your mind, and learned to recognize the chief 
stars, take your opera-glass and begin with the constellation 

* Let the reader remember that the distance between the two stars in the 
brim of the bowl of the Dipper is about ten degrees, and he will have a 
measuring-stick that he can apply in estimating other distances in the heavens. 


Leo and the star Regains. Contrive to have some convenient 
rest for your arms in holding the glass, and thus obtain not 
only comfort but steadiness of vision. A lazy-back chair 
makes a capital observing-seat. Be very particular, too, to 
get a sharp focus. Remember that no two persons' eyes are 
alike, and that even the eyes of the same observer occasion- 
ally require a change. In looking for a difficult object, I 
have sometimes suddenly brought the sought- for phenom- 
enon into view by a slight turn of the focusing- screw. 

You will at once be gratified by the increased brilliancy of 
the star as seen by the glass. If the night is clear, it will glow 
like a diamond. Yet Regulus, although ranked as a first- 
magnitude star, and of great repute among the ancient as- 
trologers, is far inferior in brilliancy to such stars as Capella 
and Arcturus, to say nothing of Sirius. 

By consulting map No. 2 you will next be able to find the 
celebrated star bearing the name of the Greek letter Gamma 
(7). If you had a telescope, you would see this star as a 
close and beautiful, double, of contrasted colors. But it is 
optically double, even with an opera-glass. You can not fail 
to see a small star near it, looking quite close if the magnify- 
ing power of your glass is less than three times. You will 
be struck by the surprising change of color in turning from 
Regulus to Gamma — the former is white and the latter deep 
yellow. It will be well to look first at one and then at the 
other, several times, for this is a good instance of what you 
will meet with many times in your future surveys of the 
heavens — a striking contrast of color in neighboring stars. 
One can thus comprehend that there is more than one sense 
in which to understand the Scriptural declaration that ''one 
star differeth from another in glory." The radiant point of 
the famous November meteors, which, in 1833 and 1866, filled 
the sky with fiery showers, is near Gamma. Turn next to the 
star in Leo marked Zeta (?). If your glass is a pretty large 
and good one, and your eye keen, you will easily see three 



minute companion stars keeping company with Zeta, two on 
the southeast, and one, much closer, toward the north. The 


nearest of the two on the south is faint, being only between 
the eighth and ninth magnitude, and will probably severely 
test your powers of vision. Next look at Epsilon (e), and 
you will find near it two seventh- magnitude companions, 
making a beautiful little triangle. 

Away at the eastern end of the constellation, in the tail 
of the imaginary Lion, upon whose breast shines Regulus, is 
the star Beta (yS) Leonis, also called Denebola. It is almost 
as bright as its leader, Regulus, and you will probably be 
able to catch a tinge of blue in its rays. South of Denebola, 
at a distance of nineteen minutes of arc, or somewhat more 
than half the apparent diameter of the moon, you will see a 
little star of the sixth magnitude, which is one of the several 


"companions" for which Denebola is celebrated. There is 
another star of the eighth magnitude in the same direction 
from Denebola, but at a distance of less than five minutes, 
and this you may be able to glimpse with a powerful field- 
glass, under favorable conditions. I have seen it well with a 
field-glass of l*6-inch aperture, and a magnifying power of 
seven times. But it requires an experienced eye and steady 
vision to catch this shy twinkler. 

When looking for a faint and difficult object, the plan 
pursued by telescopists is to avert the eye from the precise 
point upon which the attention is fixed, in order to bring a 
more sensitive part of the retina into play than that usually 
employed. Look toward the edge of the field of view, while 
the object you are seeking is in the center, and then, if it can 
be seen at all with your glass, you will catch sight of it, as 
it were, out of the corner of your eye. The effect of seeing 
a faint star in this way, in the neighborhood of a large one, 
whose rays hide it from direct vision, is sometimes very 
amusing. The little star seems to dart out into view as 
through a curtain, perfectly distinct, though as immeasur- 
ably minute as the point of a needle. But the instant you 
direct your eyes straight at it, presto ! it is gone. And so it 
will dodge in and out of sight as often as you turn your eyes. 

If you will sweep carefully over the whole extent of Leo, 
whose chief stars are marked with their Greek-letter names 
on our little map, you will be impressed with the power of 
your glass to bring into sight many faint stars in regions that 
seem barren to the naked eye. An opera-glass of 1 '5 aper- 
ture will show ten times as many stars as the naked eye 
can see. 

A word about the ''Lion" which this constellation is 
supposed to represent. It requires a vivid imagination to 
perceive the outlines of the celestial king of beasts among 
the stars, and yet somebody taught the people of ancient 
India and the old Egyptians to see him there, and there he 


has remained since the dawn of history. Modern astrono- 
mers strike him out of their charts, together with all the 
picturesque multitude of beasts and birds and men and 
women that bear him company, but they can not altogether 
banish him, or any of his congeners, for the old names, and, 
practically, the old outlines of the constellations are retained, 
and always will be retained. The Lion is the most con- 
spicuous figure in the celebrated zodiac of Dendera ; and, 
indeed, there is evidence that before the story of Hercules 
and his labors was told this lion was already imagined shin- 
ing among the stars. It was characteristic of the Greeks 
that they seized him for their own, and tried to rob him 
of his real antiquity by pretending that Jupiter had placed 
him among the stars in commemoration of Hercules's vic- 
tory over the Nemsean lion. In the Hebrew zodiac Leo 
represented the Lion of Judah. It was thus always a lion 
that the ancients thought they saw in this constellation. 

In the old star-maps the Lion is represented as in the act 
of springing upon his prey. His face is to the west, and the 
star Regains is in his heart. The sickle- shaped figure covers 
his breast and head, Gamma being in the shoulder, Zeta in 
the mane of the neck, Mu and Epsilon in the cheek, and 
Lambda in the jaws. The fore-paws are drawn up to the 
breast and represented by the stars Zi and Omicron. Dene- 
bola is in the tuft of the tail. The hind-legs are extended 
downward at full length, in the act of springing. Starting 
from the star Delta in the hip, the row consisting of Theta, 
Iota, Tau, and Upsilon, shows the line of the hind-legs. 

Leo had an unsavory reputation among the ancients be- 
cause of his supposed influence upon the weather. The 
greatest heat of summer was felt when the sun was in this 
constellation : 

**Most scorching is the chariot of the Sun, 
And waving spikes no longer hide the furrows 
When he begins to travel with the Lion." 


Looking now westwardly from the Sickle of Leo, at a 
distance about equal to twice the length of the Sickle, your 
eye will be caught by a small silvery spot in the sky lying 
nearly between two rather faint stars. This is the famous 
P raesepe, or Mang er, in the center of the constellation Can- 
cer. The two stars on either side of it are called the Aselli, 
or the Ass's Colts, and the imagination of the ancients pict- 
ured them feeding from their silver manger. Turn your 
glass upon the Manger and you will see that it consists of 
a ^crowd of little stars, so small and numerous that you will 
probably not undertake to count them, unless you are using 
a large field-glass. Galileo has left a delightful description 
of his surprise and gratification when he aimed his telescope 
at this curious cluster and other similar aggregations of 
stars and discovered what they really were. Using his best 
instrument, he was able to count thirty-six stars in the Man- 
ger. The Manger was a famous weather-sign in olden times, 
and Aratus, in his "Diosemia," advises his readers to— 

"... watch the Manger : like a httle mist 
Far north in Cancer's territory it floats. 
Its confines are two faintly ghmmering stars ; 
These are two asses that a manger parts, 
Which suddenly, when all the sky is clear, 
Sometimes quite vanishes, and the two stars 
Seem to have closer moved their sundered orbs. 
No feeble tempest then will soak the leas ; 
A murky manger with both stars 
Shining unaltered is a sign of rain." 

Like other old weather-saws, this probably possesses a 
gleam of sense, for it is only when the atmosphere is per- 
fectly transparent that the Manger can be clearly seen ; when 
the air is thick with mist, the harbinger of coming storm, it 
fades from sight. 

The constellation Cancer, or the Crab, was represented by 
the Egyptians under the figure of a scarabseus. The ob- 
server will probably think that it is as easy to see a beetle as 


a crab there. Cancer, like Leo, is one of the twelve constella- 
tions of the Zodiac, the name applied to the imaginary zone 
16° degrees wide and extending completely around the heav- 
ens, the center of which is the ecliptic or annual path of the 
sun. The names of these zodiacal constellations, in their 
order, beginning at the west and counting round the circle, 
are : Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, 
Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, and Pisces. 
Cancer has given its name to the circle called the Tropic of 
Cancer, which indicates the greatest northerly declination of 
the sun in summer, and which he attains on the 21st or 22d of 
June. But, in consequence of the precession of the equi- 
noxes, all of the zodiacal constellations are continually shift- 
ing toward the east, and Cancer has passed away from the 
place of the summer solstice, which is now to be found in 

Below the Manger, a little way toward the south, your eye 
will be caught by a group of four or five stars of about the 
same brightness as the Aselli. This marks the head of Hydra, 
and the glass will show a striking and beautiful geometrical 
arrangement of the stars composing it. Hydra is a very long 
constellation, and trending southward and eastward from the 
head it passes underneath Leo, and, sweeping pretty close 
down to the horizon, winds away under Corvus, the tail 
reaching to the eastern horizon. The length of this skyey 
serpent is about 100°. Its stars are all faint, except Alphard, 
or the Hydra's Heart, a second-magnitude star, remarkable 
for its lonely situation, southwest of Regulus. A line from 
Gamma Leonis through Regulus points it out. It is worth 
looking at with the glass on account of its rich orange- tint. 

Hydra is fabled to be the hundred-headed monster that 
was slain by Hercules. It must be confessed that there is 
nothing very monstrous about it now except its length. The 
most timid can look upon it without suspecting its grisly 


Coming back to the Manger as a starting-point, look well 
up to the north and west, and at a distance somewhat less 
than that between Regulus and the Manger you will see a 
pair of first-magnitude stars, which you will hardly need to 
be informed are the celebrated Twins, from which the con- 
stellation Gemini takes its name. The star marked a in the 
map is Castor, and the star marked /3 is Pollux. No classi- 
cal reader needs to be reminded of the romantic origin of 
these names. 

A sharp contrast in the color of Castor and Pollux comes 
out as soon as the glass is turned upon them. Castor is 
white, with occasionally, perhaps, a suspicion of a green ray 
in its light. Pollux is deep yellow. Castor is a celebrated 
double star, but its components are far too close to be sepa- 
rated with an opera-glass, or even the most powerful field- 
glass. You will be at once interested by the singular cortege 
of small stars by which both Castor and Pollux are sur- 
rounded. These little attendant stars, for such they seem, 
are arrayed in symmetrical groups — pairs, triangles, and 
other figures — which, it seems difficult to believe, could be 
unintentional, although it would be still more difficult to sug- 
gest any reason why they should be arranged in that way. 

Our map will show you the position of the principal 
stars of the constellation. Castor and Pollux are in the 
heads of the Twins, while the row of stars shown in the map 
Xi (f). Gamma (7), Nu {v\ Mu (/i), and Eta {rj), marks their 
feet, which are dipped in the edge of the Milky- Way. One 
can spend a profitable and pleasurable half-hour in exploring 
the wonders of Gemini. The whole constellation, from head 
to foot, is gemmed with stars which escape tie naked eye, 
but it sparkles like a bead-spangled garment when viewed 
with the glass. • Owing to the presence of the Milky-Way, 
the spectacle around the feet of the Twins is particularly 
magnificent. And here the possessor of a good opera-glass 
can get a fine view of a celebrated star- cluster known in the 



catalogues as 35 M. It is situated a little distance northwest 
of the star Eta, and is visible to the naked eye, on a clear, 

Map a. 

moonless night, as a nebulous speck. With a good glass you 
will see two wonderful streams of little stars starting, one 
from Eta and the other from Mu, and running parallel toward 
the northwest ; 35 M is situated between these star-streams. 
The stars in the cluster are so closely aggregated that you 
will be able to clearly separate only the outlying ones. The 
general aspect is like that of a piece of frosted silver over 
which a twinkling light is playing. A field-glass brings out 
more of the component stars. The splendor of this starry 
congregation, viewed with a powerful telescope, may be 
guessed at from Admiral Smyth's picturesque description : 
"It presents a gorgeous field of stars, from the ninth to the 
sixteenth magnitude, but with the center of the mass less 
rich than the rest. From the small stars being inclined to 
form curves of three or four, and often with a large one at 
the root of the curve, it somewhat reminds one of the burst- 
ing of a sky-rocket." And Webb adds that there is an 


'' elegant festoon near the center, starting with a reddish 

No one can gaze upon this marvelous phenomenon, even 
with the comparatively low powers of an opera-glass, and re- 
flect that all these swarming dots of light are really suns, 
without a stunning sense of the immensity of the material 

It is an interesting fact that the summer solstice, or the 
point which the sun occupies when it attains its greatest north- 
erly declination, on the longest day of the year, is close by this 
great cluster in Gemini. In the glare of the sunshine those 
swarming stars are then concealed from our sight, but with 
the mind's eye we can look past and beyond our sun, across 
the incomprehensible chasm of space, and behold them still 
shining, their commingled rays making our great God of Day 
seem but a lonely wanderer in the expanse of the universe. 

It was only a short distance southwest of this cluster that 
one of the most celebrated discoveries in astronomy was made. 
There, on the evening of March 13, 1781, William Herschel 
observed a star whose singular aspect led him to put a higher 
magnifying power on his telescope. The higher power 
showed that the object was not a star but a planet, or a 
comet, as Herschel at first supposed. It was the planet Ura- 
nus, whose discovery "at one stroke doubled the breadth of 
the sun's dominions." 

The constellation of Gemini, as the names of its two chief 
stars indicate, had its origin in the classic story of the twin 
sons of Jupiter and Leda : 

**Fair Leda's twins, in time to stars decreed, 
One fought on foot, one curbed the fiery steed." 

Castor and Pollux were regarded by both the Greeks and 
the Romans as the patrons of navigation, and this fact crops 
out very curiously in the adventures of St. Paul. After his 
disastrous shipwreck on the island of Melita he embarked 


again on a more prosperous voyage in a ship bearing the 
name of these very brothers. ''And after three months," 
writes the celebrated apostle (i^cts xxviii, 11) ''we departed 
in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, 
whose sign was Castor and Pollux." We may be certain that 
Paul was acquainted with the constellation of Gemini, not 
only because he was skilled in the learning of his times, but 
because, in his speech on Mars Hill, he quoted a line from 
the opening stanzas of Aratus's "Phenomena," a poem in 
which the constellations are described. 

The map will enable you next to find Procyon, or the Lit- 
tle Dog-Star, more than twenty degrees south of Castor and 
Pollux, and almost directly below the Manger. This star will 
interest you by its golden-yellow color and its brightness, 
although it is far inferior in the latter respect to Sirius, or 
the Great Dog- Star, which you will see flashing splendidly 
far down beneath Procyon in the southwest. About four de- 
grees northwest of Procyon is a third-magnitude star, called 
Gomelza, an4 the glass will show you two small stars which 
make a right-angled triangle with it, the nearer one being 
remarkable for its ruddy color. 

Procyon is especially interesting because it is attended by 
an invisible star, which, while it has escaped all efforts to de- 
tect it with powerful telescopes, nevertheless reveals its pres- 
ence by the effect of its attraction upon Procyon. It is a 
curious fact that both of the so-called Dog-Stars are thus 
attended by obscure or dusky companion-stars, which, not- 
withstanding their lack of luminosity, are of great magni- 
tude. In the case of Sirius, the improvement in telescopes 
has brought the mysterious attendant into view, but Pro- 
cyon's mate remains hidden from our eyes. But it can not 
escape the ken of the mathematician, whose penetrating men- 
tal vision has, in more than one instance, outstripped the dis- 
coveries of the telescope. Almost half a century ago the 
famous Bessel announced his conclusion — in the light of later 


developments it may well be called discovery— that both Sir- 
ius and Procyon were binary systems, consisting each of a 
visible and an invisible star. He calculated the probable 
period of revolution, and found it to be, in each case, ap- 
proximately fifty years. Sixteen years after Bessel' s death, 
one of Alvan Clark's unrivaled telescopes at last revealed the 
strange companion of Sirius, a huge body, half as massive as 
the giant Dog-Star itself, but ten thousand times less brill- 
iant, and more recent observations have shown that its pe- 
riod of revolution is within six or seven months of the fifty 
years assigned by Bessel. If some of the enormous tele- 
scopes that have been constructed in the past few years 
should succeed in rendering Procyon's companion visible also, 
it is highly probable that Bessel' s prediction would receive 
another substantial fulfillment. 

The mythological history of Canis Minor is somewhat ob- 
scure. According to various accounts it represents one of 
Diana's hunting-dogs, one of Orion's hounds, the Egyptian 
dog-headed god Anubis, and one of the dogs that devoured 
their master Actseon after Diana had turned him into a stag. 
The mystical Dr. Seiss leaves all the ancient myth-makers 
far in the rear, and advances a very curious theory of his 
own about this constellation, in his ''Gospel in the Stars," 
which is worth quoting as an example of the grotesque 
fancies that even in our day sometimes possess the minds 
of men when they venture beyond the safe confines of this 
terraqueous globe. After summarizing the various myths 
we have mentioned, he proceeds to identify Procyon, put- 
ting the name of the chief star for the constellation, ''as 
the starry symbol of those heavenly armies which came forth 
along with the King of kings and Lord of lords to the battle 
of the great day of God Almighty, to make an end of mis- 
rule and usurpation on earth, and clear it of all the wild 
beasts which have been devastating it for these many ages." 

The reader will wonder all the more at this rhapsody 


after he has succeeded in picking out the modest Little 
Dog in the sky. 

Sirius, Orion, Aldebaran, and the Pleiades, all of which 
you will perceive in the west and southwest, are generally 
too much involved in the mists of the horizon to be seen to 
the best advantage at this season, although it will pay you 
to take a look through the glass at Sirius. But the splendid 
star Capella, in the constellation Auriga, may claim a mo- 
ment's attention. You will find it high up in the northwest, 
half-way between Orion and the pole-star, and to the right 
of the Twins. It has no rival near, and its creamy- white 
light makes it one of the most beautiful as well as one of 
the most brilliant stars in the heavens. Its constitution, as 
revealed by the spectroscope, resembles that of our sun, but 
the sun would make but a sorry figure if removed to the side 
of this giant star. About seven and a half degrees above 
Capella, and a little to the left, you will see a second-mag- 
nitude star called Menkalina. Two and a half times as far 
to the left, or south, in the direction of Orion, is another 
star of equal brightness to Menkalina. This is El Nath, and 
marks the place where the foot of Auriga, or the Charioteer, 
rests upon the point of the horn of Taurus. Capella, Men- 
kalina, and El Nath make a long triangle which covers the 
central part of Auriga. The naked eye shows two or three 
misty-looking spots within this triangle, one to the right 
of El Nath, one in the upper or eastern part of the constel- 
lation, near the third-magnitude star Theta (d\ and another 
on a line drawn from Capella to El Nath, but much nearer 
to Capella. Turn your glass upon these spots, and you will 
be delighted by the beauty of the little stars to whose united 
rays they are due. 

El Nath has around it some very remarkable rows of 
small stars, and the whole constellation of Auriga, like that 
of Gemini, glitters with star-dust, for the Milky- Way runs 
directly through it. 



Map 4. 

With a powerful field-glass yoii may try a glimpse at 
the rich star-clusters marked 38 M, 37 M, and 331 

The mythology of Auriga is not clear, but the ancients 
seem to have been of one mind in regarding the constella- 
tion as repre- 
senting the fig- 
ure of a man 
carrying a goat 
and her two 
kids in his 
arms. Auri- 
ga was also 
looked upon 
as a benefi- 
cent constella- 
tion, and the 
goat and kids 

were believed to be on the watch to rescue shipwrecked 
sailors. As Capella, which represents the fabled goat, shines 
nearly overhead in winter, and would ordinarily be the first 
bright star to beam down through the breaking clouds of a 
storm at that season, it is not difficult to imagine how it got 
its reputation as the seaman's friend. Dr. Seiss has so spir- 
ited a description of the imaginary figure contained in this 
constellation that I can not refrain from quoting it : 

''The figure itself is that of a mighty man seated on the 
Milky- Way, holding a band or ribbon in his right hand, 
and with his left arm holding up on his shoulder a she- goat 
which clings to his neck and looks out in astonishment upon 
the terrible bull ; while in his lap are two frightened little 
kids which he supports with his great hand." 

It is scarcely necessary to add that Dr. Seiss insists that 
Auriga, as a constellation, was invented long before the time 
of the Greeks, and was intended prophetically to represent that 
Good Shepherd who was to come and rescue the sinful world. 


If any reader wishes to exercise his fancy by trying to 
trace the outlines of this figure, he will " find the head of 
Auriga marked by the star Delta (8) and the little group 
near it. Capella, in the heart of the Goat, is just below his 
left shoulder, and Menkalina marks his right shoulder. 
El Nath is in his right foot, and Iota (t) in his left foot. 
The stars Epsilon (e), Zeta (?), Eta (?;), and Lambda (\) shine 
in the kids which lie in Auriga's lap. The faint stars scat- 
tered over the eastern part of the constellation are sometimes 
represented as forming a whip with many lashes, which the 
giant flourishes with his right hand. 

Let us turn back to Denebola in the Lion's Tail. Now 
glance from it down into the southeast, and you will see a 
brilliant star flashing well above the horizon. This is Spica. 
the chief twinkler of Virgo, and it is marked on our circu- 
lar map. Then look into the northwest, and at about the 
same distance from Denebola, but higher above the horizon 
than Spica, you will catch the sparkling of a large, reddish 
star. It is Arcturus in Bootes. The three, Denebola, Spica, 
and Arcturus, mark the corners of a great equilateral tri- 
angle. Nearly on a line between Denebola and Arcturus, 
and somewhat nearer to the former, you will perceive a 
curious twinkling, as if gossamers spangled with dew-drops 
were entangled there. One might think the old woman of 
the nursery rhyme who went to sweep the cobwebs out of the 
sky had skipped this corner, or else that its delicate beauty 
had preserved it even from her housewifely instincts. This 
is the little constellation called Berenice's Hair. Your opera- 
glass will enable you to count twenty or thirty of the largest 
stars composing this cluster, which are arranged, as so often 
happens, with a striking appearance of geometrical design. 
The constellation has a very romantic history. It is related 
that the young Queen Berenice, when her husband was 
called away to the wars, vowed to sacrifice her beautiful 
tresses to Venus if he returned victorious over his enemies. 


He did return home in triumph, and Berenice, true to her 
vow, cut off her hair and bore it to the Temple of Venus. 
But the same night it disappeared. The king was furious, 
and the queen wept bitterly over the loss. There is no tell- 
ing what might have happened to the guardians of the tem- 
ple, had not a celebrated astronomer named Conon led the 
young king and queen aside in the evening and showed 
them the missing locks shining transfigured in the sky. 
He assured them that Venus had placed Berenice's lustrous 
ringlets among the stars, and, as they were not skilled in 
celestial lore, they were quite ready to believe that the sil- 
very swarm they saw near Arcturus had never been there 
before. And so for centuries the world has recognized the 
constellation of Berenice's Hair. 

Look next at Corvus and Crater, the Crow and the Cup, 
two little constellations which you will discover on the cir- 
cular map, and of which we give a separate representation 
in Map 5. You will find that the stars Delta (8) and Eta (i;), 
in the upper left-hand corner of the quadrilateral figure of 
Corvus, make a striking appearance. The little star Zeta (f) 
is a very pretty double for an opera-glass. There is a very 
faint pair of stars close below and to the right of Beta O). 
This forms a severe test. Only a good opera-glass will show 
these two stars as a single faint point of light. A field-glass, 
however, will show both, one being jconsiderably fainter than 
the other. Crater is worth sweeping over for the pretty com- 
binations of stars to be found in it. 

You will observe that the interminable Hydra extends his 
lengthening coils along under both of the constellations. In 
fact, both the Cup and the Crow are represented as standing 
upon the huge serpent. The outlines of a cup are tolerably 
well indicated by the stars included under the name Crater, 
but the constellation of the Crow might as well have borne 
any other name so far as any traceable likeness is concerned. 
One of the legends concerning Corvus avers that it is the 



daughter of the King of Phocis, who was transformed into a 
crow to escape the pursuit of Neptune. She is certainly safe 
in her present guise. 

Arcturus and Spica, and their companions, may be left 
for observation to a more convenient season, when, having 

risen higher, 
they can be 
studied to bet- 
ter advantage. 
It will be well, 
however, to 
merely glance 
at them with 
the glass in or- 
der to note the 
great difference 
of color— Spica 
being brilliant- 
ly white and 
Arcturus al- 
most red. 
We will now turn to the north. You have already been 
told how to find the pole-star. Look at it with your glass. 
The pole-star is a famous double, but its minute companion 
can only be seen with a telescope. As so often happens, 
however, it has another companion for the opera-glass, and 
this latter is sufficiently close and small to make an interest- 
ing test for an inexperienced observer armed with a glass of 
small power. It must be looked for pretty close to the rays 
of the large star, with such a glass It is of the seventh 
magnitude. With a large field-glass several smaller compan- 
ions may be seen, and a very excellent glass may show an 8'5- 
magnitude star almost hidden in the rays of the seventh- 
magnitude companion. 

With the aid of map No. 6 find in Ursa Minor, which is 

Map 5. 



Map G. 

the constellation to which the pole-star belongs, the star Beta 
(y8), which is also called Kochab (the star marked a in the 
map is the pole- 
star). Kochab has 
a pair of faint stars 
nearly north of it, 
about one degree 
distant. With a 
small glass these 
may appear as a 
single star, but a 
stronger glass will 
show them sepa- 

And now for 
Ursa Major and 
the Great Dipper 
— Draco, Cepheus, 

Cassiopeia, and the other constellations represented on the 
circular map, being rather too near the horizon for effect- 
ive observation at this time of the year. First, as the eas- 
iest object, look at the star in the middle of the handle of 
the Dipper (this handle forms the tail of Ursa Major), and a 
little attention will show you, without the aid of a glass, if 
your eye-sight is good, that the star is double. A smaller 
star seems to be almost in contact with it. The larger of 
these two stars is called Mizar and the smaller Alcor — the 
Horse and his Rider the Arabs said. Your glass will, of 
course, greatly increase the distance between Alcor and 
Mizar, and will also bring out a clear difference of color dis- 
tinguishing them. Now, if you have a very powerful glass, 
you may be able to see the Sidus Ludovicianum, a minute 
star which a German astronomer discovered more than a 
hundred and fifty years ago, and, strangely enough, taking it 
for a planet, named it after a German prince. The position 



of the Sidus Ludovicianum, with reference to Mizar and 
Alcor, is represented in the accompanying sketch. You 
must look very sharply if you expect to see it, and your 
opera-glass will have to be a large and strong one. A.field- 
glass, however, can not fail to show it. 

Sweep along the whole length of the Dipper's handle, and 
you will discover many fine fields of stars. Then look at the 
star Alpha (a) in the outer edge of the bowl nearest to the 
pole-star. There is a faint star, of about the eighth magni- 
tude, near it, in the direction of Beta (y3). This will prove a 
very difficult test. You will have to try it with averted 
vision. If you have a field-glass, catch it first with that, and, 
having thus fixed its position in your mind, try to find it 
with the opera-glass. Its distance is a little over half that 
between Mizar and Alcor. It is of a reddish color. 

You will notice nearly overhead three pairs of pretty 
bright stars in a long, bending row, about half-way between 

Leo and the Dipper. These 
mark three of Ursa Major's 
feet, and each of the pairs is 
well worth looking at with a 
glass, as they are beautifully 
grouped with stars invisible 
to the naked eye. The letters 
used to designate the stars 
forming these pairs will be 
found upon our map of Ursa 
Major. The scattered group 
of faint stars beyond the bowl 
of the Dipper forms the Bear's 
head, and you will find that also a field worth a few min- 
utes' exploration. 

The two bears, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, swinging 
around the pole of the heavens, have been conspicuous in 
the star-lore of all ages. According to fable, they represent 

Mizar, Alcor, and the Sidus Ludovicianum. 


the nymph Calisto, with whom Jupiter was in love, and her 
son Areas, who were both turned into bears by Juno, where- 
upon Jupiter, being unable to restore their form, did the 
next best thing he could by placing them among the stars. 
Ursa Major is Calisto, or Helica, as the Greeks called the con- 
stellation. The Greek name of Ursa Minor was Cynosura. 
The use of the pole-star in navigation dates back at least 
to the time of the Phoenicians. The observer will note the 
uncomfortable position of Ursa Minor, attached to the pole 
by the end of its long tail. 

But, after all, no one can expect to derive from such 
studies as these any genuine pleasure or satisfaction unless 
he is mindful of the real meaning of what he sees. The 
actual truth seems almost too stupendous for belief. The 
mind must be brought into an attitude of profound contem- 
plation in order to appreciate it. From this globe we can 
look out in every direction into the open and boundless uni- 
verse. Blinded and dazzled during the day by the blaze of 
that star, of which the earth is a near and humble dependent, 
we are shut in as by a curtain. But at night, when our own 
star is hidden, our vision ranges into the depths of creation, 
and we behold them sparkling with a multitude of other 
suns. With so simple an aid as that of an opera-glass we 
penetrate still deeper into the profundities of space, and 
thousands more of these strange, far-away suns come into 
sight. They are arranged in pairs, sets, rows, streams, clus- 
ters — here they gleam alone in distant splendor, there they 
glow and flash in mighty swarms. This is a look into heaven 
more splendid than the imagination of Bunyan pictured ; 
here is a celestial city whose temples are suns, and whose 
streets are the pathways of light. 



Let us now suppose that the Earth has advanced for 
three months in its orbit since we studied the stars of spring, 
and that, in consequence, the heavens have made one quarter 
of an apparent revolution. Then we shall find that the stars 
which in spring shone above the western horizon have been 
carried down out of sight, while the constellations that were 
then in the east have now climbed to the zenith, or passed 
over to the west, and a fresh set of stars has taken their 
place in the east. In the present chapter we shall deal with 
what may be called the stars of summer; and, in order to fur- 
nish occupation for the observer with an opera-glass through- 
out the summer months, I have endeavored to so choose 
the constellations in which our explorations will be made, 
that some of them shall be favorably situated in each of 
the months of June, July, and August. The circular map 
represents the heavens at midnight on the 1st of June ; at 
eleven o'clock, on the 15th of June; at ten o'clock, on the 
1st of July; at nine o'clock, on the 15th of July; and at 
eight o'clock, on the 1st of August. Remembering that the 
center of the map is the point over his head, and that the 
edge of it represents the circle of the horizon, the reader, 
by a little attention and comparison with the sky, will be 
able to fix in his mind the relative situation of the various 
constellations. The maps that follow will show him these 
constellations on a larger scale, and give him the names of 
their chief stars. 



The observer need not wait until midnight on the 1st 
of June in order to find some of the constellations included 

in our map. Earlier in the evening, at about that date, say 
at nine o'clock, he will be able to see many of these con- 
stellations, but he must look for them farther toward the 
east than they are represented in the map. The bright stars 
in Bootes and Virgo, for instance, instead of being over in 


the southwest, as in the map, will be near the meridian ; 
while Lyra, instead of shining high overhead, will be found 
climbing up out of the northeast. It would be well to begin 
at nine o'clock, about the 1st of June, and watch the motions 
of the heavens for two or three hours. At the commence- 
ment of the observations you will find the stars in Bootes, 
Virgo, and Lyra in the positions I have just mentioned, 
while half-way down the western sky will be seen the Sickle 
of Leo. The brilliant Procyon and Capella will be found 
almost ready to set in the west and northwest, respectively. 
Between Procyon and Capella, and higher above the horizon, 
shine the twin stars in Gemini. 

In an hour Procyon, Capella, and the Twins will be set- 
ting, and Spica will be well past the meridian. In another 
hour the observer will perceive that the constellations are 
approaching the places given to them in our map, and at 
midnight he will find them all in their assigned positions. 
A single evening spent in observations of this sort will teach 
him more about the places of the stars than he could learn 
from a dozen books. 

Taking, now, the largest opera-glass you can get (I have 
before said*that the diameter of the object-glasses should not 
be less than 1*5 inch, and, I may add, the larger they are the 
better), find the constellation Scorpio, and its chief star An- 
tares. The map shows you where to look for it at midnight 
on the 1st of June. If you prefer to begin at nine o'clock 
at that date, then, instead of looking directly in the south 
for Scorpio, you must expect to see it just rising in the 
southeast. You will recognize Antares by its fiery color, 
as well as by the striking arrangement of its surrounding 
stars. There are few constellations which bear so close a 
resemblance to the objects they are named after as Scorpio. 
It does not require a very violent exercise of the imagination 
to see in this long, winding trail of stars a gigantic scorpion, 
with its head to the west, and fiourishing its upraised sting 


that glitters with a pair of twin stars, as if ready to strike. 
Keaders of the old story of Phaeton's disastrous attempt to 
drive the chariot of the Sun for a day will remember it was 
the sight of this threatening monster that so terrified the 
ambitious youth as he dashed along the Zodiac, that he 
lost control of Apollo's horses, and came near burning the 
earth up by running the Sun into it. 

Antares rather gains in redness when viewed with a glass. 
Its color is very remarkable, and it is a curious circumstance 
that with powerful telescopes a small, bright-green star is 
seen apparently almost touching it. Antares belongs to Sec- 
chi's third type of suns, that in which the spectroscopic 
appearances suggest the existence of a powerfully absorp- 
tive atmosphere, and which are believed on various grounds 
to be, as Lockyer has said, ''in the last visible stage of 
cooling " ; in other words, almost extinct. This great, red 
star probably in actual size exceeds our sun, and no one 
can help feeling the sublime nature of those studies which 
give us reason to think that here we can actually behold 
almost the expiring throes of a giant brother of our giant 
sun. Only, the lifetime of a sun is many millions of years, 
and its gradual extinction, even after it has reached a stage 
as advanced as that of Antares is supposed to be, may 
occupy a longer time than the whole duration of the human 

A little close inspection with the naked eye will show 
three fifth- or sixth-magnitude stars above Antares and Sig- 
ma (cr), which form, with those stars, the figure of an irregu- 
lar pentagon. An opera-glass shows this figure very plainly. 
The nearest of these stars to Antares, the one directly above 
it, is known by the number 22, and belongs to Scorpio, while 
the farthest away, which marks the northernmost comer of 
the pentagon, is Rho in Ophiuchus. Try a powerful field- 
glass upon the two stars just named. Take 22 first. You 
will without much difficulty perceive that it has a little star 



under its wing, below and to the right, and more than twice as 
far away above it there is another faint star. Then turn to 
Rho. Look sharp and you will catch sight of two companion 
stars, one close to Rho on the right and a little below, and 
the other still closer and directly above Rho. The latter is 
quite difficult to be seen distinctly, but the sight is a very 
pretty one. 

The opera-glass will show a number of faint stars scat- 
tered around Antares. Turn now to Beta {p) in Scorpio, 
with the glass. A very pretty pair of stars will be seen 
hanging below yS. Sweeping downward from this point to 
the horizon you will find many beautiful star-fields. The 
star marked Nu {v) is a double which you will be able to 
separate with a powerful field-glass, the distance between 
its components being 40''. 

And next let us look at a star-cluster. You will see on 
Map No. 8 an object marked 4 M, near Antares. Its designa- 

Map 8. 

tion means that it is No. 4 in Messier's catalogue of nebulae. 
It is not a true nebula, but a closely compacted cluster of 


stars. With the opera-glass, if you are looking in a clear 
and moonless night, you will see it as a curious nebulous 
speck. With a field-glass its real nature is more apparent, 
and it is seen to blaze brighter toward the center. It is, in 
fact, one of those universes within the universe where thou- 
sands of suns are associated together by some unknown law 
of aggregation into assemblages of whose splendor the slight 
view that we can get gives us but the faintest conception. 
The object above and to the right of Antares, marked in the 
map 80 M., is a nebula, and although the nebula itself is too 
small to be seen with an opera-glass (a field-glass shows it as 
a mere wisp of light), yet there is a pretty array of small 
stars in its neighborhood worth looking at. Besides, this 
nebula is of special interest, because in 1860 a star suddenly 
took its place. At least, that is what seemed to have hap- 
pened. What really did occur, probably, was that a variable 
or temporary star, situated between us and the nebula, and 
ordinarily too faint to be perceived, received a sudden and 
enormous accession of light, and blazed up so brightly as to 
blot out of sight the faint nebula behind it. If this star 
should make its appearance again, it could easily be seen 
with an opera-glass, and so it will not be useless for the 
reader to know where to look for it. The quarter of the 
heavens with which we are now dealing is famous for these 
celestial conflagrations, if so they may be called. The first 
temporary star of which there is any record appeared in the 
constellation of the Scorpion, near the head, 134 years before 
Christ. It must have been a most extraordinary phenome- 
non, for it attracted attention all over the. world, and both 
Greek and Chinese annals contain descriptions of it. In 393 
A. D. a temporary star shone out in the tail of Scorpio. In 
827 A. D. Arabian astronomers, under the Caliph Al-Mamoun, 
the son of Haroun-al-Raschid, who broke into the great pyra- 
mid, observed a temporary star, that shone for four months 
in the constellation of the Scorpion. In 1203 there was a 


temporary star, of a bluish color, in the tail of Scorpio, and 
in 1578 another in the head of the constellation. Besides 
these there are records of the appearance of four temporary- 
stars in the neighboring constellation of Ophiuchus, one of 
which, that of 1604, is very famous, and will be described 
later on. It is conceivable that these strange outbursts in 
and near Scorpio may have had some effect in causing this 
constellation to be regarded by the ancients as malign in its 

We shall presently see some examples of star-clusters and 
nebulae with which the instruments we are using are better 
capable of dealing than with the one described above. In the 
mean time, let us follow the bending row of stars from An- 
tares toward the south and east. When you reach the star 
Mu (/a), you are not unlikely to stop with an exclamation of 
admiration, for the glass will separate it into two stars that, 
shining side by side, seem trying to rival each other in bright- 
ness. But the next star below //,, marked Zeta (?), is even 
more beautiful. It also separates into two stars, one being 
reddish and the other bluish in color. The contrast in a clear 
night is very pleasing. But this is not all. 
Above the two stars you will notice a cu- 
rious nebulous speck. Now, if you have 
a powerful field-glass, here is an oppor- 
tunity to view one of the prettiest sights 
in the heavens. The field-glass not only 
makes the two stars appear brighter, and 

Zeta Scorpionis. ^^ o ? 

their colors more pronounced, but it shows 
a third, fainter star below them, making a small triangle, 
and brings other still fainter stars into sight, while the neb- 
ulous speck above turns into a charmingly beautiful little 
star- cluster, whose components are so close that their rays 
are inextricably mingled in a maze of light. This little 
cut is an attempt to represent the scene, but no engraving 
can reproduce the life and sparkle of it. 


Following the bend of the Scorpion's tail upward, we 
come to the pair of stars in the sting. These, of course, are 
thrown wide apart by the opera-glass. Then let us sweep off 
to the eastward a little way and find the cluster known as 
7 M. You will see it marked on the map. Above it, and 
near enough to be included in the same field of view, is 6 M., 
a smaller cluster. Both of these have a sparkling appearance 
with an opera-glass, and by close attention some of the sepa- 
rate stars in 7 M. may be detected. With a field-glass these 
clusters become much more striking and starry looking, and 
the curious radiated structure of 7 M. comes out. 

In looking at such objects we can not too often recall to 
our minds the significance of what we see — that these glim- 
mering specks are the lights in the windows of the universe 
which carry to us, across inconceivable tracts of space, the 
assurance that we and our little system are not alone in the 
heavens ; that all around us, and even on the very confines of 
immensity, Nature is busy, as she is here, and the laws of 
light, heat, gravitation (and why not of life?), are in full 

The clusters we have just been looking at lie on the bor- 
ders of Scorpio and Sagittarius. Let us cross over into the 
latter constellation, which commemorates the centaur Chiron. 
We are now in another, and even a richer, region of won- 
ders. The Milky- Way, streaming down out of the north- 
east, pours, in a luminous flood, through Sagittarius, inun- 
dating that whole region of the heavens with seeming deeps 
and shallows, and finally bursting the barriers of the horizon 
disappears, only to glow with redoubled splendor in the 
southern hepaisphere. The stars Zeta (?), Tau (t), Sigma (<r). 
Phi (</)), Lambdap (X), and Mu (/x) indicate the outlines of a 
figure sometimes called, the Milk-Dipper, which is very evi- 
dent when the eye has once recognized it. On either side of 
the upturned handle of this dipper-like figure lie some of the 
most interesting objects in the sky. Let us take the star /* 


for a starting-point. Sweep downward and to the right a little 
way, and you will be startled by a most singular phenomenon 
that has suddenly made its appearance in the field of view of 
your glass. You may, perhaps, be tempted to congratulate 
yourself on having got ahead of all the astronomers, and dis- 
covered a comet. It is really a combination of a star-cluster 
with a nebula, and is known as 8 M. Sir John Herschel has 
described the "nebulous folds and masses" and dark oval 
gaps which he saw in this nebula with his large telescope at 
the Cape of Good Hope. But no telescope is needed to make 
it appear a wonderful object ; an opera-glass suffices for that, 
and a field-glass reveals still more of its marvelous structure. 

The reader will recollect that we found the summer sol- 
stice close to a wonderful star-swarm in the feet of Gemini. 
Singularly enough the winter solstice is also near a star-clus- 
ter. It is to be found near a line drawn from 8 M. to the star 
/A Sagittarii, and about one third of the way from the cluster 
to the star. There is another less conspicuous star-cluster 
still closer to the solstitial point here, for this part of the 
heavens teems with such aggregations. 

On the opposite side of the star /i — that is to say, above 
and a little to the left— is an entirely different but almost 
equally attractive spectacle, the swarm of stars called 24 M. 
Here, again, the field-glass easily shows its superiority over 
the opera-glass, for magnifying power is needed to bring out 
the innumerable little twinklers of which the cluster is com- 
posed. But, whether you use an opera-glass or a field-glass, 
do not fail to gaze long and steadily at this island of stars, for 
much of its beauty becomes evident only after the eye has 
accustomed itself to disentangle the glimmering rays with 
which the whole field of view is filled. Try the method of 
averted vision, and hundreds of the finest conceivable points 
of light will seem to spring into view out of the depths of the 
sky. The necessity of a perfectly clear night, and the ab- 
sence of moonlight, can not be too much insisted upon for 



observations such as these. Everybody knows how the moon- 
light blots out the smaller stars. A slight haziness, or smoke, 
in the air produces a similar effect. It is as important to the 
observer with an opera-glass to have a transparent atmos- 
phere as it is to one who would use a telescope ; but, fortu- 
nately, the work of the former is not so much interfered with 
by currents of air. Always avoid the neighborhood of any 
bright light. Electric lights in particular are an abomination 
to star-gazers. 

The cloud of stars we have just been looking at is in a 
very rich region of the Milky- Way, in the little modern con- 
stellation called "Sobieski's Shield," which we have not 
named upon our map. Sweeping slowly upward from 24 M. 
a little way with the field-glass, we will pass in succession 
over three nebulous-looking spots. The second of these, 
counting upward, is the famous Horseshoe nebula. Its won- 
ders are beyond the reach of our instrument, but its place 
may be recognized. Look carefully all around this region, 
and you will perceive that the old gods, who traveled this 
road (the Milky- Way was sometimes called the pathway of 
the gods), trod upon golden sands. Off a little way to the 
east you will find the rich cluster called 25 M. But do not 
imagine the thousands of stars that your opera-glass or field- 
glass reveals comprise all the riches of this Golconda of the 
heavens. You might ply the powers of the greatest telescope 
in a vain attempt to exhaust its wealth. As a hint of the 
wonders that lie hidden here, let me quote Father Secchi's 
description of a starry spot in this same neighborhood, viewed 
with the great telescope at Rome. After telling of "beds of 
stars superposed upon one another," and of the wonderful 
geometrical arrangement of the larger stars visible in the 
field, he adds : 

'' The greater number are arranged in spiral arcs, in which 
one can count as many as ten or twelve stars of the ninth to 
the tenth magnitude following one another in a curve, like 



beads upon a string. Sometimes they form rays which seem 
to diverge from a common focus, and, what is very singular, 
one usually finds, either at the center of the rays, or at the 
beginning of the curve, a more brilliant star of a red color, 
which seems to lead the march. It is impossible to believe 
that such an arrangement can be accidental." 

The reader will recall the somewhat similar description 
that Admiral Smyth and Mr. Webb have given of a star-clus- 
ter in Gemini (see Chapter I). 

The milky look of the background of the Galaxy is, of 
course, caused by the intermingled radiations of inconceiv- 
ably minute and inconceivably numerous stars, thousands of 
which become separately visible, the number thus distin- 
guishable varying with the size of the instrument. But the 
most powerful telescope yet placed in human hands can not 
sound these starry deeps to the bottom. The evidence given 
by Prof. Holden, the Director of the Lick Observatory, on 
this point is very interesting. Speaking of the performance 
of the gigantic telescope on Mount Hamilton, thirty-six 
inches in aperture, he says : 

*'The Milky- Way is a wonderful sight, and I have been 
much interested to see that there is, even with our superla- 
tive power, no final resolution of its finer parts into stars. 
There is always the background of unresolved nebulosity on 
which hundreds and thousands of stars are studded — each a 
bright, sharp, separate point. " 

The groups of stars forming the eastern half of the con- 
stellation of Sagittarius are worth sweeping over with the 
glass, as a number of pretty pairs may be found there. 

Sagittarius stands in the old star-maps as a centaur, half- 
horse-half -man, facing the west, with drawn bow, and arrow 
pointed at the Scorpion. 

Next let us pass to the double constellation adjoining 
Scorpio and Sagittarius on the north — Ophiuchus and the 
Serpent. These constellations, as our map shows, are curi- 



ously intermixed. The imagination of the old star-gazers, who 
named them, saw here the figure of a giant grasping a writh- 

Map 9. 

ing serpent with his hands. The head of the serpent is 
under the Northern Crown, and its tail ends over the star- 
gemmed region that we have just described, called ''Sobies- 
ki's Shield." Ophiuchus stands, as figured in Flamsteed's 
"Atlas," upon the back of the Scorpion, holding the serpent 
with one hand below the neck, this hand being indicated by 
the pair of stars marked Epsilon (e) and Delta (S), and with 
the other near the tail. The stars Tau (t) and Nu {v) indicate 
the second hand. The giant's face is toward the observer, 


and the star Alpha (a), also called Ras Alhague, shines in 
his forehead, while Beta (^) and Gamma (7) mark his right 
shoulder. Ophiuchus has been held to represent the famous 
physician ^sculapius. One may well repress the tendency 
to smile at these fanciful legends when he reflects upon their 
antiquity. There is no doubt that this double constellation 
is at least three thousand years old — that is to say, for thirty 
centuries the imagination of men has continued to shape these 
stars into the figures of a gigantic man struggling with a huge 
serpent. If it possesses no other interest, then it at least has 
that which attaches to all things ancient. Like many other 
of the constellations it has proved longer-lived than the 
mightiest nations. While Greece flourished and decayed, 
while Rome rose and fell, while the scepter of civilization has 
passed from race to race, these starry creations of fancy have 
shone on unchanged. The mind that would ignore them 
now deserves compassion. 

The reader will observe a little circle in the map, and near 
it the figures 1604. This indicates the spot where one of the 
most famous temporary stars on record appeared in the year 
1604. At first it was far brighter than any other star in the 
heavens ; but it quickly faded, and in a little over a year dis- 
appeared. It is particularly interesting, because Kepler — the 
quaintest, and not far from the greatest, figure in astronomi- 
cal history — wrote a curious book about it. Some of the 
philosophers of the day argued that the sudden outburst of 
the wonderful star was caused by the chance meeting of 
atoms. Kepler's reply was characteristic, as well as amusing : 

**I will tell those disputants, my opponents, not my own 
opinion, Jbut my wife's. Yesterday, when I was weary with 
writing, my mind being quite dusty with considering these 
atoms, I was called to supper, and a salad I had asked for 
was set before me. ^It seems, then,' said I, aloud, 'that if 
pewter dishes, leaves of lettuce, grains of salt, drops of water, 
vinegar and oil, and slices of %gg.^ had been flying about in 


the air from all eternity, it might at last happen by chance 
that there would come a salad.' ^ Yes,' says my wife, *but 
not so nice and well-dressed as this of mine is.' " 

While there are no objects of special interest for the ob- 
server with an opera-glass in Ophiuchus, he will find it worth 
while to sweep over it for w^hat he may pick up, and, in par- 
ticular, he should look at the group of stars southeast of y8 
and 7. These stars have been shaped into a little modern 
asterism called Taurus Poniatowskii, and it will be noticed 
that five of them mark the outlines of a letter V, resembling 
the well-known figure of the Hyades. 

Also look at the stars in the head of Serpens, several of 
which form a figure like a letter X. A little west of Theta (6\ 
in the tail of Serpens, is a beautiful swarm of little stars, 
upon which a field-glass may be used with advantage. The 
star 6 is itself a charming double, just within the separating 
power of a very powerful field-glass under favorable circum- 
stances, the component stars being only about one third of a 
minute apart. 

Do not fail to notice the remarkable subdivisions of the 
Milky- Way in this neighborhood. Its current seems divided 
into numerous channels and bays, interspersed with gaps 
that might be likened to islands, and the star 6 appears to be 
situated upon one of these islands of the galaxy. This com- 
plicated structure of the Milky- W^ay extends downward to 
the horizon, and upward through the constellation Cygnus, 
and of its phenomenal appearance in that region we shall 
have more to say further on. 

Directly north of Ophiuchus is the constellation Hercules, 
interesting as occupying that part of the heavens toward 
which the proper motion of the sun is bearing the earth and 
its fellow-planets, at the rate, probably, of not less than 160,- 
000,000 miles in a year — a stupendous voyage through space, 
of whose destination we are as ignorant as the crew of a ship 
sailing under sealed orders, and, like whom, we must depend 


upon such inferences as we can draw from courses and dis- 
tances, for no other information comes to us from the flag- 
ship of our squadron. 

In the accompanying map we have represented the beau- 
tiful constellations Lyra and the Northern Crown, lying on 




Map 10. 

either side of Hercules. The reader should note that the 
point overhead in this map is not far from the star Eta (rf) in 
Hercules. The bottom of the map is toward the south, the 
right-hand side is west, and the left-hand side east. It is im- 
portant to keep these directions in mind, in comparing the 
map with the sky. For instance, the observer must not ex- 
pect to look into the south and see Hercules half-way up the 
sky, with Lyra a little east of it ; he must look for Hercules 


nearly overhead, and Lyr&, a little east of the zenith. The 
same precautions are not necessary in using the maps of 
Scorpio, Sagittarius, and Ophiuchus, because those constella- 
tions are nearer the horizon, and so the observer does not 
have to imagine the map as being suspended over his head. 

The name Hercules sufficiently indicates the mythological 
origin of the constellation, and yet the Greeks did not know 
it by that name, for Aratus calls it "the Phantom whose 
name none can tell." The Northern Crown, according to 
fable, was the celebrated crown of Ariadne, and Lyra was the 
harp of Orpheus himself, with w^hose sweet music he charmed 
the hosts of Hades, and persuaded Pluto to yield up to him 
his lost Eurydice. 

With the aid of the map you will be able to recognize the 
principal stars and star-groups in Hercules, and will find 
many interesting combinations of stars for yourself. An 
object of special interest is the celebrated star-cluster 13 M. 
You will find it on the map between the stars Eta (97) and 
Zeta (?). While an opera-glass will only show it as a faint 
and minute speck, lying nearly between two little stars, it is 
nevertheless well worth looking for, on account of the great 
renown of this wonderful congregation of stars. Sir William 
Herschel computed the number of stars contained in it as 
about fourteen thousand. It is roughly spherical in shape, 
though there are many straggling stars around it evidently 
connected with the cluster. In short, it is a hall of suns. 
The reader should not mistake what that implies, however. 
These suns, though truly solar bodies, are probably very 
much smaller than our sun. Mr. Gore has computed their 
average diameter to be forty-five thousand miles, and the 
distance separating each from the next to be 9,000,000,000 
miles. It may not be uninteresting to inquire what would 
be the appearance of the sky to dwellers within such a sys- 
tem of suns. Adopting Mr. Gore's estimates, and supposing 
9,000,000,000 miles to be very nearly the uniform distance 


apart of the stars in the cluster, and forty- five thousand miles 
their uniform diameter, then, starting with a single star in 
the center, their arrangement might be approximately in 
concentric spherical shells, situated about 9,000,000,000 miles 
apart. The first shell, counting outward from the center, 
would contain a dozen stars, each of which, as seen by an 
observer stationed upon a planet at the center of the cluster, 
would shine eleven hundred times as bright as Sirius appears 
to us. The number of the stars in each shell would increase 
as they receded from the center in proportion to the squares 
of the radii of the successive shells, while their luminosity, 
as seen from the center, would vary inversely as those 
squares. Still, the outermost stars — the total number being 
limited to fourteen or fifteen thousand — would appear to our 
observer at the center of the system about five times as brill- 
iant as Sirius. 

It is clear, then, that he would be dwelling in a sort of 
perpetual daylight. His planet might receive from the par- 
ticular sun around which it revolved as brilliant a daylight as 
our sun gives to us, but let us see what would be the illumi- 
nation of its night side. Adopting ZoUner's estimate of the 
light of the sun as 618,000 times as great as that of the full 
moon, and choosing among the various estimates of the light 
of Sirius as compared with the sun T-(roWoT)Uinr ^s probably 
the nearest the truth, we find that the moon sends us about 
sixty-five hundred times as much light as Sirius does. Now, 
since the dozen stars nearest the center of the cluster would 
each appear to our observer eleven hundred times as bright 
as Sirius, all of them together would give a little more than 
twice as much light as the full moon sheds upon the earth. 
But as only half the stars in the cluster would be above the 
horizon at once we must diminish this estimate by one half, 
in order to obtain the amount of light that our supposititious 
planet would receive on its night side from the nearest stars 
in the cluster. And since the number of these stars increases 


with their distance from the center in the same ratio as their 
light diminishes, it follows that the total light received from 
the cluster would exceed that received from the dozen nearest 
stars as many times as there were spherical shells in the clus- 
ter. This would be about fifteen times, and accordingly all 
the stars together would shed, at the center, some thirty times 
as much light as that of the moon. Dividing this again by 
two, because only half of the stars could be seen at once, we 
find that the night side of our observer's planet would be illu- 
minated with fifteen times as much light as the full moon 
sheds upon the earth. 

It is evident, too, that our observer would enjoy the spec- 
tacle of a starry firmament incomparably more splendid than 
that which we behold. Only about three thousand stars are 
visible to our unassisted eyes at once on any clear night, and 
of those only a few are conspicuous, and two thirds are so 
faint that they require some attention in order to be distin- 
guished. But the spectator at the center of the Hercules 
cluster would behold some seven thousand stars at once, the 
faintest of which would be five times as brilliant as the bright- 
est star in our sky, while the brighter ones would blaze like 
nearing suns. One effect of this flood of starlight would be 
to shut out from our observer's eyes all the stars of the out- 
side universe. They would be effaced in the blaze of his sky, 
and he would be, in a manner, shut up within his own little 
star-system, knowing nothing of the greater universe beyond, 
in which we behold his multitude of luminaries, diminished 
and blended by distance into a faintly shining speck, floating 
like a silvery mote in a sunbeam. 

If our observer's planet, instead of being situated in the 
center of the cluster, circled around one of the stars at the 
outer edge of it, the appearance of his sky would be, in some 
respects, still more wonderful, the precise phenomena de- 
pending upon the position of the planet's orbit and the sta- 
tion of the observer. Less than half of his sky would be 


filled, at any time, by tlie stars of the cluster, the other half 
opening upon outer space and appearing by comparison 
almost starless — a vast, cavernous expanse, with a few faint 
glimmerings out of its gloomy depths. The plane of the 
orbit of his planet being supposed to pass through the center 
of the spherical system, our observer would, during his year, 
behold the night at one season blazing with the splendors of 
the clustered suns, and at another emptied of brilliant orbs 
and faintly lighted with the soft glow of the Milky-Way and 
the feeble flickering of distant stars, scattered over the dark 
vault. The position of the orbit, and the inclination of the 
planet's axis might be such that the glories of the cluster 
would not be visible from one of its hemispheres, necessitat- 
ing a journey to the other side of the globe to behold them.* 
Of course, it is not to be assumed that the arrange- 
ment of the stars in the cluster actually is exactly that which 
we have imagined. Still, whatever the arrangement, so long 
as the cluster is practically spherical, and the stars com- 
posing it are of nearly uniform size and situated at nearly 
uniform distances, the phenomena we have described would 
fairly represent the appearances presented to inhabitants of 
worlds situated in such a system. As to the possibility of 
the existence of such worlds and inhabitants, everybody 
must draw his own conclusions. Astronomy, as a science, 
is silent upon that question. But there shine the congre- 
gated stars, mingling their rays in a message of light, that 
comes to us across the gulf, proclaiming their brotherhood 
with our own glorious sun. Mathematicians can not unravel 
the interlocking intricacies of their orbits, and some would, 
perhaps a priori., have said that such a system was impossi- 
ble, but the telescope has revealed them, and there they are ! 
What purposes they subserve in the economy of the uni- 
verse, who shall declare ? 

* A similar calculation of the internal appearances of the Hercules cluster, 
which I made, was published in 1887 in the " New York Sun." 


If you have a field -glass, by all means try it upon 13 M. 
It will give you a more satisfactory view than an opera-glass 
is capable of doing, and will magnify the cluster so that there 
can be no possibility of mistaking it for a star. Compare this 
compact cluster, which only a powerful telescope can par- 
tially resolve into its component stars, with 7 M. and 24 M., 
described before, in order to comprehend the wide variety in 
the structure of these aggregations of stars. 

The Northern Crown, although a strikingly beautiful 
constellation to the naked eye, offers few attractions to the 
opera-glass. Let us turn, then, to Lyra. I have never been 
able to make up my mind which of three great stars is en- 
titled to precedence — Vega, the leading brilliant of Lyra, 
Arcturus in Bootes, or Capella in Auriga. They are the 
three leaders of the northern firmament, but which of them 
should be called the chief, is very hard to say. At any rate, 
Yega would probably be generally regarded as the most 
beautiful, on account of the delicate bluish tinge in its light, 
especially when viewed with a glass. There is no possibility 
of mistaking this star because of its surpassing brilliancy. 
Two faint stars close to Yega on the east make a beautiful 
little triangle with it, and thus form a further means of recog- 
nition, if any were needed. Your opera-glass will show that 
the floor of heaven is powdered with stars, fine as the dust of 
a diamond, all around the neighborhood of Yega, and the 
longer you gaze the more of these diminutive twinklers you 
will discover. 

Now direct your glass to the northernmost of the two lit- 
tle stars near Yega, the one marked Epsilon (e) in the map. 
You will perceive that it is composed of two stars of almost 
equal magnitude. If you had a telescope of considerable 
power, you would find that each of these stars is in turn 
double. In other words, this wonderful star which appears 
single to the unassisted eye, is in reality quadruple, and 
there is reason to think that the four stars composing it are 



connected in pairs, the members of each pair revolving 
around their common center while the two pairs in turn cir- 

Map 11. 

cle around a center common to all. With a field -glass you 
will be able to see that the other star near Yega, Zeta (?"), is 
also double, the distance between its components being three 
quarters of a minute, while the two stars in e are a little less 
than 3i' apart. The star Beta (/3) is remarkably variable in 
brightness. You may watch these variations, which run 
through a regular period of about 12 days, 21| hours, for 
yourself. Between Beta and Gamma (7) lies the beautiful 
Ring nebula, but it is hopelessly beyond the reach of the 
optical means we are employing. 


Let us turn next to the stars in the west. In consulting 
the accompanying map of Virgo and Bootes (Map No. 11), 
the observer is supposed to face the southwest, at the hours 
and dates mentioned above as those to which the circular 
map corresponds. He will then see the bright star Spica in 
Virgo not far above the horizon, while Arcturus will be half- 
way up the sky, and the Northern Crown will be near the 

The constellation Virgo is an interesting one in mytho- 
logical story. Aratus tells us that the Virgin's home was 
once on earth, where she bore the name of Justice, and in the 
golden age all men obeyed her. In the silver age her visits 
to men became less frequent, "no longer finding the spirits of 
former days"; and, finally, when the brazen age came with 
the clangor of war : 

" Justice, loathing that race of men, 
Winged her flight to heaven ; and fixed 

Her station in that region 
Where still by night is seen 
The Virgin goddess near to bright Bootes." 

The chief star of Virgo, Spica, is remarkable for its pure 
white light. To my eye there is no conspicuous star in the 
sky equal to it in this respect, and it gains in beauty when 
viewed with a glass. With the aid of the map the reader will 
find the celebrated binary star Gamma (7) Virginis, although 
he will not be able to separate its components without a tele- 
scope. It is a curious fact that the star Epsilon (e) in Virgo 
has for many ages been known as the Grape-Gatherer. It 
has borne this name in Greek, in Latin, in Persian, and in 
Arabic, the origin of the appellation undoubtedly being that 
it was observed to rise just before the sun in the season of the 
vintage. It will be observed that the stars e, 8, 7, rj, and y3, 
mark two sides of a quadrilateral figure of which the oppo- 
site corner is indicated by Denebola in the tail of Leo. 
Within this quadrilateral lies the marvelous Field of the 


Nebulae, a region where with adequate optical power one 
may find hundreds of these strange objects thronging to- 
gether, a very storehouse of the germs of suns and worlds. 
Unfortunately, these nebulae are far beyond the reach of an 
opera-glass, but it is worth while to know where this curious 
region is, even if we can not behold the wonders it contains. 
The stars Omicron (o), Pi (tt), etc., forming a little group, 
mark the head of Virgo. 

The autumnal equinox, or the place where the sun 
crosses the equator of the heavens on his southerly journey 
about the 21st of September, is situated nearly between the 
stars 7) and /S Yirginis, a little below the line joining them, 
and somewhat nearer to rj. Both ^ and f Yirginis are almost 
exactly upon the equator of the heavens. 

The constellation Libra, lying between Virgo and Scorpio, 
does not contain much to attract our attention. Its two chief 
stars, a and /8, may be readily recognized west of and above 
the head of Scorpio. The upper one of the two, /8, has a 
singular greenish tint, and the lower one, a, is a very pretty 
double for an opera-glass. 

The constellation of Libra appears to have been of later 
date than the other eleven members of the zodiacal circle. 
Its two chief stars at one time marked the extended claws af 
Scorpio, which were afterward cut off (perhaps the monster 
proved too horrible even for its inventors) to form Libra. 
As its name signifies. Libra represents a balance, and this 
fact seems to refer the invention of the constellation back 
to at least three hundred years before Christ, when the au- 
tumnal equinox occurred at the moment when the sun was 
just crossing the western border of the constellation. The 
equality of the days and nights at that season readily 
suggests the idea of a balance. Milton, in " Paradise 
Lost," suggests another origin for the constellation of the 
Balance in the account of Gabriel's discovery of Satan in 
paradise : 


"... Now dreadful deeds 
Might have ensued, nor only paradise 
In this commotion, but the starry cope 
Of heaven, perhaps, or all the elements 
At least had gone to wrack, disturbed and torn 
With violence of this conflict, had not soon 
The Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray. 
Hung forth in heaven his golden scales, yet seen 
Betwixt Astrea and the Scorpion sign." 

Just north of Virgo's head will be seen the glimmering 
of Berenice's Hair. This little constellation was included 
among those described in the chapter on "The Stars of 
Spring," but it is worth 
looking at again in the 
early summer, on moonless 
nights, when the singular 
arrangement of the brighter 
members of the cluster at 
once strikes the eye. 

Bootes, whose leading 
brilliant, Arcturus, occupies 
the center of our map, also 
possesses a curious mythi- 
cal history. It is called by 

Berenice's Hair. 

the Greeks the Bear-Driver, 

because it seems continually to chase Ursa Major, the Great 
Bear, in his path around the pole. The story is that Bootes 
was the son of the nymph Calisto, whom Juno, in one of her 
customary fits of jealousy, turned into a bear. Bootes, who 
had become a famous hunter, one day roused a bear from 
her lair, and, not knowing that it was his mother, was about 
to kill her, when Jupiter came to the rescue and snatched 
them both up into the sky, where they have shone ever since. 
Lucan refers to this story when, describing Brutus's visit to 
Cato at night, he fixes the time by the position of these con- 
stellations in the heavens : 


" 'Twas when the solemn dead of night came on, 
When bright Oalisto, with her shining son, 
Now half the circle round the pole had run." 

Bootes is not specially interesting for our purposes, ex- 
cept for the splendor of Arcturus. This star has possessed a 
peculiar charm for me ever since boyhood, when, having read 
a description of it in an old treatise on Uranography, I felt 
an eager desire to see it. As my search for it chanced to be- 
gin at a season when Arcturus did not rise till after a boy's 
bed-time, I w^as for a long time disappointed, and I shall 
never forget the start of surprise and almost of awe with 
which I finally caught sight of it, one spring evening, shoot- 
ing its flaming rays through the boughs of an apple-orchard, 
like a star on fire. 

When near the horizon, Arcturus has a remarkably red- 
dish color ; but, after it has attained a high elevation in the 
sky, it appears rather a deep yellow than red. There is a 
scattered cluster of small stars surrounding Arcturus, form- 
ing an admirable spectacle with an opera-glass on a clear 
night. To see these stars well, the glass should be slowly 
moved about. Many of them are hidden by the glare of Arc- 
turus. The little group of stars near the end of the handle 
of the Great Dipper, or, what is the same thing, the tail of 
the Great Bear, marks the upraised hand of Bootes. Be- 
tween Berenice's Hair and the tail of the Bear you will see a 
small constellation called Canes Yenatici, the Hunting-Dogs. 
On the old star-maps Bootes is represented as holding these 
dogs with a leash, while they are straining in chase of the 
Bear. You will find some pretty groupings of stars in this 

And now we will turn to the east. Our next map shows 
Cygnus, a constellation especially remarkable for the large 
and striking figure that it contains, called the Northern 
Cross, Aquila the Eagle, the Dolphin, and the little asterisms 
Sagitta and Vulpecula. In consulting the map, the observer 


is supposed to face toward the east. In Aquila the curious 
arrangement of two stars on either side of the chief star of 
the constellation, called Altair, at once attracts the eye. 
Within a circle including the two attendants of Altair you 
will probably be able to see with the naked eye only two or 
three stars in addition to the three large ones. Now turn 
your glass upon the same spot, and you will see eight or 
ten times as many stars, and with a field-glass still more can 
be seen. Watch the star marked Eta (97), and you will find 
that its light is variable, being sometimes more than twice as 
bright as at other times. Its changes are periodical, and oc- 
cupy a little over a week. 

The Eagle is fabled to have been the bird that Jupiter 
kept beside his throne. A constellation called Antinous, in- 
vented by Tycho Brahe, is represented on some maps as oc- 
cupying the lower portion of the space given to Aquila. 

The Dolphin is an interesting little constellation, and the 
ancients said it represented the very animal on whose back 
the famous musician Arion rode through the sea after his es- 
cape from the sailors who tried to murder him. But some 
modern has dubbed it with the less romantic name of Job's 
Coffin, by which it is sometimes called. It presents a very 
pretty sight to the opera-glass. 

Cygnus, the swan, is a constellation whose mythological 
history is not specially interesting, although, as remarked 
above, it contains one of the most clearly marked figures to 
be found among the stars, the famous Northern Cross. The 
outlines of this cross are marked with great distinctness 
by the stars Alpha (a), Epsilon (e), Gamma (7), Delta (5), and 
Beta (/3), together with some fainter stars lying along the 
main beam of the cross between ^ and 7. The star y8, also 
called Albireo, is one of the most beautiful double stars in 
the heavens. The components are sharply contrasted in color, 
the larger star being golden-yellow, while the smaller one is 
a deep, rich blue. With a field-glass of l*6-inch aperture 



and magnifying seven times I have sometimes been able to 
divide this pair, and to recognize the blue color of the smaller 
star. It will be found a severe test for such a glass. 

Map l; 

About half-way from Albireo to the two stars ?" and e in 
Aquila is a very curious little group, consisting of six or 
seven stars in a straight row, with a garland of other stars 
hanging from the center. To see it best, take a field-glass, 
although an opera-glass shows it. 

I have indicated the place of the celebrated star 61 Cygni 
in the map, because of the interest attaching to it as the near- 
est to us, so far as we know, of all the stars in the northern 

THE STARS OF ^ i:R. 57 

hemisphere, and with one exception xhe nearest star in all 
the heavens. Yet it is very faint, and the fact that so incon- 
spicuous a star should be nearer than such brilliants as Vega 
and Arcturus shows how wide is the range of magnitude 
among the suns that light the universe. The actual distance 
of 61 Cygni is something like 650,000 times as great as the 
distance from the earth to the sun. 

The star Omicron (0) is very interesting with an opera- 
glass. The naked eye sees a little star near it. The glass 
throws them wide apart, and divides o itself into two stars. 
Now, a field-glass, if of sufficient power, will divide the larger 
of these stars again into two— a fine test. 

Sweep around a and 7 for the splendid star-fields that 
abound in this neighborhood ; also around the upper part of 
the figure of the cross. We are here in one of the richest 
parts of the Milky- Way. Between the stars a, 7, e, is the 
strange dark gap in the galaxy called the Coal- Sack, a sort 
of hole in the starry heavens. Although it is not entirely 
empty of stars, its blackness is striking in contrast with the 
brilliancy of the Milky- Way in this neighborhood. The 
divergent streams of the' great river of light in this region 
present a very remarkable appearance. 

Finally, we come to the great dragon of the sky. In using 
the map of Draco and the neighboring constellations, the 
reader is supposed to face the north. The center of the up- 
per edge of the map is directly over the observer's head. One 
of the stories told of this large constellation is that it repre- 
sents a dragon that had the temerity to war against Minerva. 
The goddess "seized it in her hand, and hurled it, twisted 
as it was, into the heavens round the axis of the world, be- 
fore it had time to unwind its contortions." Others say it is 
the dragon that guarded the golden apples in the Garden of 
the Hesperides, and that was slain by the redoubtable Her- 
cules. At any rate, it is plainly a monster of the first magni- 
tude. The stars /3, 7, f, z/, and /x represent its head, while its 



body runs trailing along, first sweeping in a long curve to- 
ward Cepheus, and then bending around and passing between 

Map 13. 

the two bears. Try v with your opera-glass, and if you suc- 
ceed in seeing it double you may congratulate yourself on 
your keen sight. The distance between the stars is about V. 
Notice the contrasted colors of 7 and y8, the former being a 
rich orange and the latter white. As you sweep along the 
winding way that Draco follows, you will run across many 
striking fields of stars, although the heavens are not as rich 
here as in the splendid regions that we have just left. You 
will also find that Cepheus, although not an attractive con- 


stellation to the naked eye, is worth some attention with an 
opera-glass. The head and upper part of the body of Ce- 
pheus are plunged in the stream of the Milky Way, while his 
feet are directed toward the pole of the heavens, upon which 
he is pictured as standing. Cepheus, however, sinks into in- 
significance in comparison with its neighbor Cassiopeia, but 
that constellation belongs rather to the autumn sky, and we 
shall pass it by here. 



In the *' Fifth Evening" of that delightful, old, out-of- 
date book of Fontenelle's, on the "Plurality of Worlds," the 
Astronomer and the Marchioness, who have been making a 
wonderful pilgrimage through the heavens during their even- 
ing strolls in the park, come at last to the starry systems be- 
yond the "solar vortex," and the Marchioness experiences a 
lively impatience to know what the fixed stars will turn out 
to be, for the Astronomer has sharpened her appetite for 

"Tell me," says she, eagerly, "are they, too, inhabited 
like the planets, or are they not peopled ^ In short, what can 
we make of them ? " 

The Astronomer ^answers his charming questioner, as we 
should do to-day, that the fixed stars are so many suns. And 
he adds to this information a great deal of entertaining talk 
about the planets that may be supposed to circle around these 
distant suns, interspersing his conversation with explanations 
of " vortexes," and many quaint conceits, in which he is 
helped out by the ready wit of the Marchioness. 

Finally, the impressionable mind of the lady is over- 
whelmed by the grandeur of the scenes that the Astronomer 
opens to her view, her head swims, infinity oppresses her, 
and she cries for mercy. 

"You show me," she exclaims, "a perspective so inter- 
minably long that the eye can not see the end of it. I see 
plainly the inhabitants of the earth ; then you cause me to 


perceive those of the moon and of the other planets belonging 
to our vortex (system), quite clearly, yet not so distinctly as 
those of the earth. After them come the inhabitants of plan- 
ets in the other vortexes. I confess, they seem to me hidden 
deep in the background, and, however hard I try, I can bare- 
ly glimpse them at all. In truth, are they not almost anni- 
hilated by the very expression which you are obliged to use 
in speaking of them ? You have to call them inhabitants of 
one of the planets contained in one out of the infinity of vor- 
texes. Surely we ourselves, to whom the same expression 
applies, are almost lost among so many millions of worlds. 
For my part, the earth begins to appear so frightfully little 
to me that henceforth I shall hardly consider any object wor- 
thy of eager pursuit. Assuredly, people who seek so earnest- 
ly their own aggrandizement, who lay schemes upon schemes, 
and give themselves so much trouble, know nothing of the 
vortexes ! I am sure my increase of knowledge will redound 
to the credit of my idleness, and when people reproach me 
with indolence I shall reply : ' Ah ! if you but knew the his- 
tory of the fixed stars ! ' " 

It is certainly true that a contemplation of the unthink- 
able vastness of the universe, in the midst of which we dwell 
upon a speck illuminated by a spark, is calculated to make all 
terrestrial affairs appear contemptibly insignificant. We can 
not wonder that men for ages regarded the earth as the cen- 
ter, and the heavens with their lights as tributary to it, for to 
have thought otherwise, in those times, would have been to 
see things from the point of view of a superior intelligence. 
It has taken a vast amount of experience and knowledge to 
convince men of the parvitude of themselves and their belong- 
ings. So, in all ages they have applied a terrestrial measure 
to the universe, and imagined they could behold human 
affairs reflected in the heavens and human interests setting the 
gods together by the ears. 

This is clearly shown in the story of the constellations. 



The tremendous truth that on a starry night we look, in 
every direction, into an almost endless vista of suns beyond 

suns and systems upon systems, was too overwhelming for 
comprehension by the inventors of the constellations. So 
they amused themselves, like imaginative children, as they 
were, by tracing the outlines of men and beasts formed by 
those pretty lights, the stars. They turned the starry heav- 
ens into a scroll filled with pictured stories of mythology. 


Four of the constellations with which we are going to deal 
in this chapter are particularly interesting on this account. 
They preserve in the stars, more lasting than parchment or 
stone, one of the oldest and most pleasing of all the romantic 
stories that have amused and inspired the minds of men — the 
story of Perseus and Andromeda — a better story than any 
that modern novelists have invented. The four constellations 
to which I refer bear the names of Andromeda, Perseus, Cas- 
siopeia, and Cepheus, and are sometimes called, collectively, 
the Royal Family. In the autumn they occupy a conspicu- 
ous position in the sky, forming a group that remains un- 
rivaled until the rising of Orion with his imperial cortege. 
The reader will find them in Map No. 14, occupying the 
northeastern quarter of the heavens. 

This map represents the visible heavens at about midnight 
on September 1st, ten o'clock p. m. on October 1st, and eight 
o'clock p. M. on November 1st. At this time the constella- 
tions that were near the meridian in summer will be found 
sinking in the west, Hercules being low in the northwest, 
with the brilliant Lyra and the head of Draco suspended 
above it ; Aquila, " the eagle of the winds," soars high in the 
southwest ; while the Cross of Cygnus is just west of the 
zenith ; and Sagittarius, with its wealth of star-dust, is disap- 
pearing under the horizon in the southwest. 

Far down in the south the observer catches the gleam of a 
bright lone star of the first magnitude, though not one of the 
largest of that class. It is Fomalhaut, in the mouth of the 
Southern Fish, Piscis Australis. A slight reddish tint will 
be perceived in the light of this beautiful star, whose brill- 
iance is enhanced by the fact that it shines without a rival in 
that region of the sky. Fomalhaut is one of the important 
" nautical stars," and its position was long ago carefully com- 
puted for the benefit of mariners. The constellation of Piscis 
Australis, which will be found in our second map, does not 
j)ossess much to interest us except its splendid leading star. 



In consulting Map 15, the observer is supposed to be facing 
south, or slightly west of south, and he must remember that 
the upper part of the map reaches nearly to the zenith, while 
at the bottom it extends down to the horizon. 

To the right, or west, of Fomalhaut, and higher up, is the 
constellation of Capricornus, very interesting on many ac- 

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Map 15. 


counts, though by no means a striking constellation to the 
unassisted eye. The stars Alpha (a), called Giedi, and Beta 
(y8), called Dabih, will be readily recognized, and a keen eye 
will perceive that Alpha really consists of two stars. They 
are about six minutes of arc apart, and are of the third and 
the fourth magnitude respectively. These stars, which to the 
naked eye appear almost blended into one, really have no 
physical connection with each other, and are slowly drifting 
apart. The ancient astronomers make no mention of Giedi 
being composed of two stars, and the reason is plain, when it 
is known that in the time of Hipparchus, as Flammarion has 
pointed out, their distance apart was not more than two 
thirds as great as it is at present, so that the naked eye 
could not have detected the fact that there were two of 
them ; and it was not until the seventeenth century that they 
got far enough asunder to begin to be separated by eyes of 
unusual power. With an ordinary opera-glass they are 
thrown well apart, and present a very pretty sight. Consid- 
ering the manner in which these stars are separating, the 
fact that both of them have several faint companions, which 
our powerful telescopes reveal, becomes all the more inter- 
esting. A suggestion of Sir John Herschel, concerning one 
of these faint companions, that it shines by reflected light, 
adds to the interest, for if the suggestion is well founded the 
little star must, of course, be actually a planet, and granting 
that, then some of the other faint points of light seen there 
are probably planets too. It must be said that the proba- 
bilities are against Herschel' s suggestion. The faint stars 
more likely shine with their own light. Even so, however, 
these two systems, which apparently have met and are pass- 
ing one another, at a distance small as compared with the 
space that separates them from us, possess a peculiar interest, 
like two celestial fleets that have spoken one another in the 
midst of the ocean of space. 

The star Beta, or Dabih, is also a double star. The com- 


panion is of a beautiful blue color, generally described as 
"• sky-blue." It is of the seventh magnitude, while the larger 
star is of magnitude three and a half. The latter is golden- 
yellow. The blue of the small star can be seen with either 
an opera- or a field-glass, but it requires careful looking and 
a clear and steady atmosphere. I recollect discovering the 
color of this star with a field-glass, and exclaiming to myself, 
*'Why, the little one is as blue as a bluebell!" before I 
knew that that was its hue as seen with a telescope. Trying 
my opera-glass upon it I found that the color was even more 
distinct, although the small star was then more or less en- 
veloped in the yellow rays of the large one. The distance 
between the two stars in Dabih is nearly the same as that 
between the components of e Lyrse, and the comparative 
difficulty of separating them is an instructive example of the 
effect of a large star in concealing a small one close beside 
it. The two stars in e Lyrse are of nearly equal brightness, 
and are very easily separated and distinguished, but in /3 
Capricorni, or Dabih, one star is about twenty times as bright 
as the other, and consequently the fainter star is almost con- 
cealed in the glare of its more brilliant neighbor. 

With the most powerful glass at your disposal, sweep 
from the star Zeta {^) eastward a distance somewhat greater 
than that separating Alpha and Beta, and you will find a 
fifth-magnitude star beside a little nebulous spot. This is the 
cluster known as 30 M, one of those sun-swarms that over- 
whelm the mind of the contemplative observer with astonish- 
ment, and especially remarkable in this case for the apparent 
vacancy of the heavens immediately surrounding the cluster, 
as if all the stars in that neighborhood had been drawn into 
the great assemblage, leaving a void around it. Of course, 
with the instrument that our observer is supposed to be 
using, merely the existence of this solar throng can be detect- 
ed ; but, if he sees that it is there, he may be led to provide 
himself with a telescope capable of revealing its glories. 


Admiral Smyth remarks that, *' although Capricorn is not 
a striking object, it has been the very pet of all constellations 
with astrologers," and he quotes from an old almanac of the 
year 1386, that "whoso is borne in Capcorn schal be ryche 
and wel lufyd." The mythological account of the constella- 
tion is that it represents the goat into which Pan was turned 
in order to escape from the giant Typhon, who once on a time 
scared all the gods out of their wits, and caused them to 
change themselves into animals, even Jupiter assuming the 
form of a ram. According to some authorities, Piscis Aus- 
tralis represents the fish into which Venus changed herself 
on that interesting occasion. 

Directly above Piscis Australis, and to the east or left of 
Capricorn, the map shows the constellation of Aquarius, or the 
Water- Bearer. Some say this commemorates Granymede, the 
cup-bearer of the gods. It is represented in old star-maps by 
the figure of a young man pouring water from an urn. The 
star Alpha (a) marks his right shoulder, and Beta (y8) his left, 
and Gamma (7), Zeta (?), Eta (77), and Pi (tt) indicate his right 
hand and the urn. From this group a current of small stars 
will be recognized, sweeping downward with a curve toward 
the east, and ending at Fomalhaut ; this represents the water 
poured from the urn, which the Southern Fish appears to be 
drinking. In fact, according to the pictures in the old maps, 
the fish succeeds in swallowing the stream completely, and it 
vanishes from the sky in the act of entering his distended 
mouth! It is worthy of remark that in Greek, Latin, and 
Arabic this constellation bears names all of which signify *'a 
man pouring water." The ancient Egyptians imagined that 
the setting of Aquarius caused the rising of the Nile, as he 
sank his huge urn in the river to fill it. Alpha Aquarii was 
called by the Arabs Sadalmelik, which is interpreted to mean 
the "king's lucky star," but whether it proved itself a lucky 
star in war or in love, and what particular king enjoyed its 
benign influence and recorded his gratitude in its name, we 


are not informed. Thus, at every step, we find how shreds of 
history and bits of superstition are entangled among the 
stars. Surely, humanity has been reflected in the heavens 
as lastingly as it has impressed itself upon the earth. 

Starting from the group of stars just described as forming 
the Water-Bearer's urn, follow with a glass the winding 
stream of small stars that represent the water. Several very 
pretty and striking assemblages of stars will be encountered 
in its course. The star Tau (t) is double and presents a beau- 
tiful contrast of color, one star being white and the other 
reddish-orange — two solar systems, it may be, apparently 
neighbors as seen from the earth, in one of which daylight is 
white and in the other red ! 

Point a good glass upon the star marked Nu {y\ and you 
will see, somewhat less than a degree and a half to the west 
of it, what appears to be a faint star of between the seventh 
and eighth magnitudes. You will have to look sharp to see 
it. It is with your mind's eye that you must gaze, in order 
to perceive the wonder here hidden in the depths of space. 
That faint speck is a nebula, unrivaled for interest by many 
of the larger and more conspicuous objects of that kind. 
Lord Rosse's great telescope has shown that in form it re- 
sembles the planet Saturn ; in other words, that it consists 
apparently of a ball surrounded by a ring. But the spectro- 
scope proves that it is a gaseous mass, and the micrometer — 
supposing its distance to be equal to that of the stars, and 
we have no reason to think it less — that it must be large 
enough to fill the whole space included within the orbit of 
Neptune ! Here, then, as has been said, we seem to behold 
a genesis in the heavens. If Laplace's nebular hypothesis, 
or any of the modifications of that hypothesis, represents the 
process of formation of a solar system, then we may fairly 
conclude that such a process is now actually in operation in 
this nebula in Aquarius, where a vast ring of nebulous mat- 
ter appears to have separated off from the spherical mass 


within it. This may not be the true explanation of what we 
see there, but, whatever the explanation is, there can be no 
question of the high significance of this nebula, whose shape 
proclaims unmistakably the operation of great metamorphic 
forces there. Of course, with his insignificant optical means, 
our observer can see nothing of the strange form of this 
object, the detection of which requires the aid of the most 
powerful telescopes, but it is much to know where that un- 
finished creation lies, and to see it, even though diminished 
by distance to a mere speck of light. 

Turn your glass upon the star shown in the map just 
above Mu (ft) and Epsilon (e). You will find an attractive 
arrangement of small stars in its neighborhood. The star 
marked 104 is double to the naked eye, and the row of stars 
below it is well worth looking at. The star Delta (3) indi- 
cates the place where, in 1756, Tobias Mayer narrowly escaped 
making a discovery that would have anticipated that which 
a quarter of a century later made the name of Sir William 
Herschel world-renowned. The planet Uranus passed near 
Delta in 1756, and Tobias Mayer saw it, but it moved so 
slowly that he took it for a fixed star, never suspecting that 
his eyes had rested upon a member of the solar system whose 
existence was, up to that time, unknown to the inhabitants of 
Adam's planet. 

Above Aquarius you will find the constellation Pegasus. 
It is conspicuously marked by four stars of about the second 
magnitude, which shine at the corners of a large square, 
called the Great Square of Pegasus. This figure is some fif- 
teen degrees square, and at once attracts the eye, there being 
few stars visible within the quadrilateral, and no large ones 
in the immediate neighborhood to distract attention from it. 
One of the four stars, however, as will be seen by consulting 
Map 15, does not belong to Pegasus, but to the constellation 
Andromeda. Mythologically, this constellation represents 
the celebrated winged horse of antiquity : 


*' Now heaven his further wandering flight confines, 
Where, splendid with his numerous stars, he shines." 

The star Alpha (a) is called Markab ; Beta (/3) is Scheat, 
and Gamma (7) is Algenib ; the fourth star in the square, 
belonging to Andromeda, is called Alpheratz. Although 
Pegasus presents a striking appearance to the unassisted eye, 
on account of its great square, it contains little to attract the 
observer with an opera-glass. It will prove interesting, how- 
ever, to sweep with the glass carefully over the space within 
the square, which is comparatively barren to the naked eye, 
but in which many small stars will be revealed, of whose ex- 
istence the naked-eye observer would be unaware. The star 
marked Pi (tt) is an interesting double, which can be sepa- 
rated by a good eye without artificial aid, and which, with an 
opera-glass, presents a fine appearance. 

And now we come to Map No. 16, representing the con- 
stellations Cetus, Pisces, Aries, and the Triangles. In con- 
sulting it the observer is supposed to face the southeast. 
Cetus is a very large constellation, and from the peculiar con- 
formation of its principal stars it can be readily recognized. 
The head is to the east, the star Alpha (a), called Menkar, 
being in the nose of this imaginary inhabitant of the sky- 
depths. The constellation is supposed to represent the mon- 
ster that, according to fable, was sent by Neptune to devour 
the fair Andromeda, but whose bloodthirsty design was hap- 
pily and gallantly frustrated by Perseus, as we shall learn 
from starry mythology further on. 

Although bearing the name Cetus, the Whale, the pict- 
ures of the constellation in the old maps do not present us 
with the form of a whale, but that of a most extraordinary 
scaly creature with enormous jaws filled with large teeth, a 
forked tongue, fore-paws armed with gigantic claws, and a 
long, crooked, and dangerous-looking tail. Indeed, Aratus 
does not call it a *' whale," but a '• sea-monster," and Dr. 
Seiss would have us believe that it was intended to represent 



the leviathan, whose terrible prowess is celebrated in the 
book of Job. 

By far the most interesting object in Cetus is the star 
Mira. This is a famous variable — a sun that sometimes 
shines a thousand-fold more brilliantly than at others ! It 
changes from the second magnitude to the ninth or tenth, its 

Map 16. 

period from maximum to maximum being about eleven 
months. During about five months of that time it is com- 
pletely invisible to the naked eye ; then it begins to appear 


again, slowly increasing in brightness for some three months, 
until it shines as a star of the second magnitude, being then 
as bright as, if not brighter than, the most brilliant stars in 
the constellation. It retains this brilliance for about two 
weeks, and then begins to fade again, and, within three 
months, once more disappears. There are various irregulari- 
ties in its changes, which render its exact period somewhat 
uncertain, and it does not always attain the same degree of 
brightness at its maximum. For instance, in 1779, Mira was 
almost equal in brilliance to a first-magnitude star, but fre- 
quently at its greatest brightness it is hardly equal to an 
ordinary star of the second magnitude. By the aid of our 
little map you will readily be able to find it. You will per- 
ceive that it has a slightly reddish tint. Watch it from one 
of its maxima, and you will see it gradually fade from sight 
until, at last, only the blackness of the empty sky appears 
where, a few months before, a conspicuous star was visible. 
Keep watch of that spot, and in due course you will perceive 
Mira shining there again — a mere speck, but slowly brighten- 
ing — and in three months more the wonderful star will blaze 
again with renewed splendor. 

Knowing that our own sun is a variable star— though vari- 
able only to a slight degree, its variability being due to the 
spots that appear upon its surface in a period of about eleven 
years— we possess some light that may be cast upon the mys- 
tery of Mira's variations. It seems not improbable that, in 
the case of Mira, the surface of the star at the maximum of 
spottedness is covered to an enormously greater extent than 
occurs during our own sun-spot maxima, so that the light of 
the star, instead of being merely dimmed to an almost im- 
perceptible extent, as with our sun, is almost blotted out. 
When the star blazes with unwonted splendor, as in 1779, we 
may fairly assume that the pent-up forces of this perishing 
sun have burst forth, as in a desperate struggle against ex- 
tinction. But nothing can prevail against the slow, remofse- 


less, unswerving progress of that obscuration, which comes 
from the leaking away of the solar heat, and which consti- 
tutes what we may call the death of a sun. And that word 
seems peculiarly appropriate to describe the end of a body 
which, during its period of visible existence, not only pre- 
sents the highest type of physical activity, but is the parent 
and supporter of all forms of life upon the planets that sur- 
round it. 

We might even go so far as to say that possibly Mira 
presents to us an example of what our sun will be in the 
course of time, as the dead and barren moon shows us, as in 
a magician's glass, the approaching fate of the earth. Fortu- 
nately, human life is a mere span in comparison with the 
aeons of cosmic existence, and so we need have no fear that 
either we or our descendants . for thousands of generations 
shall have to play the tragic role of Campbell's "Last Man," 
and endeavor to keep up a stout heart amid the crash of time 
by meanly boasting to the perishing sun, whose rays have 
nurtured us, that, though his proud race is ended, we have 
confident anticipations of immortality. I trust that, when 
man makes his exit from this terrestrial stage, it will not be 
in the contemptible act of kicking a fallen benefactor. 

There are several other variable stars in Cetus, but none 
possessing much interest for us. The observer should look 
at the group of stars in the head, where he will find some in- 
teresting combinations, and also at Chi, which is the little star 
shown in the map near Zeta (f). This is a double that will 
serve as a very good test of eye and instrument, the smaller 
companion-star being of only seven and a half magnitude. 

Directly above Cetus is the long, straggling constellation 
of Pisces, the Fishes. The Northern Fish is represented by 
the group of stars near Andromeda and the Triangles. A 
long band or ribbon, supposed to bind the fish together, trends 
thence first southeast and then west until it joins a group of 
stars under Pegasus, which represents the Western Fish, not 


to be confounded with the Southern Fish described near the 
beginning of this chapter, which is a separate constellation. 
Fable has, however, somewhat confounded these fishes ; for 
while, as I have remarked above, the Southern Fish is said 
to represent Yenus after she had turned herself into a fish to 
escape from the giant Typhon, the two fishes of the constella- 
tion we are now dealing with are also fabled to represent 
Venus and her interesting son Cupid under the same disguise 
assumed on precisely the same occasion. If Typhon, how- 
ever, was so great a brute that even Cupid's arrows were of 
no avail against him, we should, perhaps, excuse mythology 
for duplicating the record of so wondrous an event. 

You will find it very interesting to take your glass and, 
beginning with the attractive little group in the Northern 
Fish, follow the windings, of the ribbon, with its wealth of 
tiny stars, to the Western Fish. When you have arrived at 
that point, sweep well over the sky in that neighborhood, and 
particularly around and under the stars Iota {l\ Theta {d\ 
Lambda (\), and Kappa (/c). If you are using a powerful 
glass, you will be surprised and delighted by what you see. 
Below the star Omega (w), and to the left of Lambda, is the 
place which the sun occupies at the time of the spring equi- 
nox — in other words, one of the two crossing-places of the 
equinoctial or the equator of the heavens, and the ecliptic, or 
the sun's path. The prime meridian of the heavens passes 
through this point. You can trace out this great circle, from 
which astronomical longitudes are reckoned, by drawing an 
imaginary line from the equinoctial point just indicated 
through a in 'Andromeda and y3 in Cassiopeia to the pole- 

To the left of Pisces, and above the head of Cetus, is the 
constellation Aries, or the Ram. Two pretty bright stars, 
four degrees apart, one of which has a fainter star near it, 
mark it out plainly to the eye. These stars are in the head 
of the Ram. The brightest one, Alpha (a), is called Hamal ; 


Beta (yS) is named Sheratan ; and its fainter neighbor is Me- 
sarthim. According to fable, this constellation represents the 
ram that wore the golden ileece, which was the object of the 
celebrated expedition of the Argonauts. There is not much 
in the constellation to interest us, except its historical impor- 
tance, as it was more than two thousand years ago the leading 
constellation of the zodiac, and still stands first in the list of 
the zodiacal signs. Owing to the precession of the equinoxes, 
however, the vernal equinoctial point, which was formerly in 
this constellation, has now advanced into the constellation 
Pisces, as we saw above. Gamma (7), Arietis, is interesting as 
the first telescopic double star ever discovered. Its duplicity 
was detected by Dr. Hooke while watching the passage of a 
comet near the star in 1664. Singularly enough, the bright- 
est star in the constellation, now bearing the letter a, original- 
ly did not belong to the constellation. Tycho Brahe finally 
placed it in the head of Aries. 

The little constellation of the Triangles, just above Aries, 
is worth only a passing notice. Insignificant as it appears, 
this little group is a very ancient constellation. It received 
its name, Deltoton, from the Greek letter A. 

The reader must now be introduced to the ''Royal Family." 
Although the story of Perseus and Andromeda is, of course, 
well known to nearly all readers, yet, on account of the great 
beauty and brilliancy of the group of constellations that per- 
petuate the memory of it among the stars, it is worth recall- 
ing here. It will be remembered that, as Perseus was return- 
ing through the air from his conquest of the Gorgon Medusa, 
he saw the beautiful Andromeda chained to a rock on the 
sea-coast, waiting to be devoured by a sea-monster. The 
poor girl's only offense was that her mother, Cassiopeia, had 
boasted for her that she was fairer than the sea-beauty, 
Atergatis, and for this Neptune had decreed that all the 
land of the Ethiopians should be drowned and destroyed 
unless Andromeda was delivered up as a sacrifice to the 



dreadful sea-monster. When Perseus, dropping down to 
learn why this maiden was chained to the rocks, heard from 
Andromeda's lips the story of her woes, he laughed with 

Map 17. 


joy. Here was an adventure just to his liking, and besides, 
unlike his previous adventures, it involved the fate of a beau- 
tiful woman with whom he was already in love. Could he 
save her ? Well, wouldn't he ! The sea-monster might fright- 
en a kingdom full of Ethiops, but it could not shake the 
nerves of a hero from Greece. He whispered words of en- 
couragement to Andromeda, who could scarce believe the 
good news that a champion had come to defend her after all 
her friends and royal relations had deserted her. Neither 
could she feel much confidence in her young champion's pow- 
ers when suddenly her horrified gaze met the awful leviathan 
of the deep advancing to his feast ! But Perseus, with a 
warning to Andromeda not to look at what he was about to 
do, sprang with his winged sandals up into the air. And 
then, as Charles Kingsley has so beautifully told the story — 

"On came the great sea-monster, coasting along like a 
huge black galley, lazily breasting the ripple, and stopping at 
times by creek or headland to watch for the laughter of girls 
at their bleaching, or cattle pawing on the sand-hills, or boys 
bathing on the beach. His great sides were fringed with 
clustering shells and sea- weeds, and the water gurgled in and 
out of his wide jaws as he rolled along, dripping and glisten- 
ing in the beams of the morning sun. At last he saw An- 
dromeda, and shot forward to take his prey, while the waves 
foamed white behind him, and before him the fish fled leap- 

'' Then down from the height of the air fell Perseus like a 
shooting-star — down to the crest of the waves, while Androm- 
eda hid her face as he shouted. And then there was silence 
for a while. 

''At last she looked up trembling, and saw Perseus 
springing toward her ; and, instead of the monster, a long, 
black rock, with the sea rippling quietly round it." 

Perseus had turned the monster into stone by holding the 
blood-freezing head of Medusa before his eyes ; and it was 


fear lest Andromeda herself might see the Gorgon's head, and 
suffer the fate of all who looked upon it, that had led him to 
forbid her watching him when he attacked her enemy. 
Afterward he married her, and Cassiopeia, Andromeda's 
mother, and Cepheus, her father, gave their daughter's res- 
cuer a royal welcome, and all the Ethiops rose up and blessed 
him for ridding the land of the monster. And now, if we 
choose, we can, any fair night, see the principal characters of 
this old romance shining in starry garb in the sky. Aratus 
saw them there in his day, more than two hundred years be- 
fore Christ, and has left this description in his '' Skies," as 
translated by Poste : 

** Nor shall blank silence whelm the harassed house 
Of Cepheus ; the high heavens know their name, 
For Zeus is in their line at few removes. 
Cepheus himself by She-bear Cynosure, 
lasid king stands with uplifted arms. 
From his belt thou castest not a glance 
To see the first spire of the mighty Dragon. 

'^ Eastward from him, heaven- troubled queen, with scanty stars 
But lustrous in the full-mooned night, sits Cassiopeia. 
Not numerous nor double-rowed 
The gems that deck her form, 
But like a key which through an inward-fastened 
Folding-door men thrust to knock aside the bolts. 
They shine in single zigzag row. 
She, too, o'er narrow shoulders stretching 
Uplifted hands, seems wailing for her child. 

" For there, a woful statue-form, is seen 
Andromeda, parted from her mother's side. Long I trow 
Thou wilt not seek her in the nightly sky. 
So bright her head, so bright 
Her shoulders, feet, and girdle. 
Yet even there she has her arms extended. 
And shackled even in heaven ; uplifted. 
Outspread eternally are those fair hands. 

" Her feet point to her bridegroom 
Perseus, on whose shoulder they rest. 



He in the north-wind stands gigantic. 

His right hand stretched toward the throne 

Where sits the mother of his bride. As one bent on some high 

Dust-stained he strides over the floor of heaven." 

The makers of old star-maps seem to have vied in the 
effort to represent with effect the figures of Andromeda, 
Perseus, and Cassiopeia among the stars, and it must be ad- 
mitted that some of them succeeded in giving no small de- 
gree of life and spirit to their sketches. 

The starry riches of these constellations are well matched 
with their high mythological repute. Lying in and near the 
Milky- Way, they are particularly interesting to the observer 
with an opera-glass. Besides, they include several of the 
most celebrated wonders of the firmament. 

In consulting Map No. 17, the observer is supposed to 
face the east and northeast. We will begin our survey with 
Andromeda. The three chief stars of this constellation are of 
the second magnitude, and lie in a long, bending row, begin- 
ning with Alpha (a), or Alpheratz, in the head, which, as we 
have seen, marks one corner of the great Square of Pegasus. 
Beta (^), or Mirach, with the smaller stars Mu (/*) and Nu {y\ 
form the girdle. Tbe third of the chief stars is Gamma (7), 
or Almaach, situated in the left foot. The little group of 
stars designated Lambda (\), Kappa (/e), and Iota (t), mark the 
extended right hand chained to the rock, and Zeta (f ) and 
some smaller stars southwest of it show the left arm and 
hand, also stretched forth and shackled. 

In searching for picturesque objects in Andromeda, begin 
with Alpheratz and the groups forming the hands. Below 
the girdle will be seen a rather remarkable arrangement of 
small stars in the mouth of the Northern Fish. Now follow 
up the line of the girdle to the star Nu iy). If your glass has 
a pretty wide field, your eye will immediately catch the glim- 
mer of the Great Nebula of Andromeda in the same field 



with the star. This is the oldest or earliest discovered of 
the nebulae, and, with the exception of that in Orion, is 
the grandest visible in this hemisphere. Of course, not 
much can be expected of an opera-glass in viewing such 
an object ; and yet a good glass, in clear weather and the 
absence of the moon, makes a very attractive spectacle 
of it. 

By turning the eyes aside, the nebula can be seen, ex- 
tended as a faint, wispy light, much elongated on either side 

of the brighter nu- 
cleus. The cut here 
given shows, approxi- 
mately, the appear- 
ance of the nebula, 
together with some of 
the small stars in its 
neighborhood, as seen 
with a field - glass. 
With large telescopes 
it appears both larger 
and broader, expand- 
ing to a truly enor- 
mous extent, and in 
Bond's celebrated pic- 
ture of it we behold 
gigantic rifts running lengthwise, while the whole field of 
sky in which it is contained appears sprinkled over with 
minute stars apparently between us and the nebula. It 
was in, or, probably more properly speaking, in line with, 
this nebula that a new star suddenly shone out in 1885, 
and, after flickering and fading for a few months, disap- 
peared. That the outburst of light in this star had any 
real connection with the nebula is exceedingly improbable. 
Although it appeared to be close beside the bright nucleus of 
the nebula, it is likely that it was really hundreds or thou- 

The Great Andromeda Nebula. 


sands of millions of miles either this side or the other side of 
it. Why it should suddenly have blazed into visibility, and 
then in so short a time have disappeared, is a question as 
difficult as it is interesting. The easiest way to account for 
it, if not the most satisfactory, is to assume that it is a vari- 
able star of long period, and possessing a very wide range of 
variability. One significant fact that would seem to point 
to some connection between star and the nebula, after all, 
is that a similar occurrence was noticed in the constellation 
Scorpio in I860, and to which I have previously referred (see 
Chapter II). In that case a faint star projected against the 
background of a nebula, suddenly flamed into comparatively 
great brilliance, and then faded again. The chances against 
the accidental superposition of a variable star of such ex- 
treme variability upon a known nebula occurring twice are so 
great that, for that reason alone, we might be justified in 
thinking some mysterious causal relation must in each case 
exist between the nebula and the star. The temptation to in- 
dulge in speculation is very great here, but it is better to 
wait for more light, and confess that for the present these 
things are inexplicable. 

It will be found very interesting to sweep with the glass 
slowly from side to side over Andromeda, gradually ap- 
proaching toward Cassiopeia or Perseus. The increase in the 
richness of the stratum of faint stars that apparently forms 
the background of the sky will be clearly discernible as you 
approach the Milky- Way, which passes directly through 
Cassiopeia and Perseus. It may be remarked that the Milky- 
Way itself, in that splendidly rich region about Sagittarius 
(described in the ''Stars of Summer"), is not nearly so effect- 
ive an object with an opera-glass as it is above Cygnus and in 
the region with which we are now dealing. This seems to be 
owing to the smaller magnitude of its component stars in the 
southern part of the stream. There the background appears 
more truly *' milky," while in the northern region the little 


stars shine distinct, like diamond-specks, on a black back- 

The star Nu, which serves as a pointer to the Great Nebu- 
la, is itself worth some attention with a pretty strong glass 
on account of a pair of small stars near it. 

The star Gamma (7) is interesting, not only as one of the 
most beautiful triples in the heavens (an opera-glass is far too 
feeble an instrument to reveal its conipanions), but because it 
serves to indicate the radiant point of the Biela meteors. 
There was once a comet well known to astronomers by the 
name of its discoverer, Biela. It repeated its visits to the 
neighborhood of the sun once in every six or seven years. 
In 1846 this comet astonished all observers by splitting into 
two comets, which continued to run side by side, like two 
equal racers, in their course around the sun. Each developed 
a tail of its own. In 1852, when the twin comets were due 
again, the astronomical world was on the qui vive, and they 
did not disappoint expectation, for back they came out of the 
depths of space, still racing, but much farther apart than 
they had been before, alternating in brightness as if the long 
struggle had nearly exhausted them, and finally, like spent 
runners, growing faint and disappearing. They have never 
been seen since. 

In 1872, when the comets should have been visible, if they 
still existed, a very startling thing happened. Out of the 
northern heavens, along the track of the missing comets, 
where the earth crossed it, on the night of the 27th of Novem- 
ber came glistening and dashing the fiery spray of a storm of 
meteors. It was the dust and fragments of the lost comet of 
Biela, which, after being split in two in 1852, had evidently 
continued the process of disintegration until its cometary 
character was completely lost. It seems to have made a truly 
ghostly exit, for right after the meteor swarm of 1872 a mys- 
terious cometary body was seen, which was supposed at the 
time to be the missing comet itself, and which, it is not alto- 


gether improbable, may have been a fragment of it. Three 
days after the meteors burst over Europe, it occurred to Pro- 
fessor Klinkerfues, of Berlin, that if they came from Biela's 
comet the comet itself ought to be seen in the southern 
hemisphere retreating from its encounter with the earth. On 
November 30th he sent his now historical telegram to Mr. 
Pogson, an astronomer at Madras ; '' Biela touched earth No- 
vember 27th. Search near Theta Centauri." For thirty-six 
hours after the receipt of this extraordinary request Mr. Pog- 
son was prevented by clouds from scanning the heavens with 
his telescope. When the sky cleared at last, behold there 
was a comet in the place indicated in the telegram ! It was 
glimpsed again the next night, and then clouds intervened, 
and not a trace of it was ever seen afterward. 

But every year, on the 27th of November, when the earth 
crosses the orbit of the lost comet, meteoric fragments come 
plunging into our atmosphere, burning as they fly. Ordina- 
rily their number is small, but when, as in 1872, a swarm of 
the meteors is in that part of their orbit which the earth 
crosses, there is a brilliant spectacle. In 1885 this occurred, 
and the world was treated to one of the most splendid me- 
teoric displays on record. 

Next let us turn to Perseus. The bending row of stars 
marking the center of this constellation is very striking and 
brilliant. The brightest star in the constellation is Alpha, or 
Algenib, in the center of the row. The head of Perseus is 
toward Cassiopeia, and in his left hand he grasps the head of 
Medusa, which hangs down in such a way that its principal 
star Beta, or Algol, forms a right angle with Algenib and 
Almaach in Andromeda. This star Algol, or the Demon, as 
the Arabs call it, is in some respects the most wonderful and 
interesting in all the heavens. It is as famous for the varia- 
bility of its light as Mira, but it differs widely from that star 
both in its period, which is very short, and in the extent of 
the changes it undergoes. During about two days and a 


half, Algol is equal in brilliance to Algenib, which is a sec- 
ond-magnitude star ; then it begins to fade, and in the course 
of about four and a half hours it sinks to the fourth magni- 

The Attendants of Alpha Persei. 

tude, being then about equal to the faint stars near it. It 
remains thus obscured for only a few minutes, and then be- 
gins to brighten again, and in about four and a haK hours 
more resumes its former brilliance. This phenomenon is very 
easily observed, for, as will be seen by consulting our little 
map, Algol can be readily found, and its changes are so rapid 
that under favorable circumstances it can be seen in the 
course of a single night to run through the whole gamut. 


Of course, no optical instrument whatever is needed to enable 
one to see these changes of Algol, for it is plainly visible to 
the naked eye throughout, but it will be found interesting to 
watch the star with an opera-glass. Its periodic time from 
minimum to minimum is two days, twenty hours, and forty- 
nine minutes, lacking a few seconds. Any one can calculate 
future minima for himself by adding the periodic time above 
given to the time of any observed minimum. 

While spots upon its surface may be the cause of the 
variations in the light of Mira, it is believed that the more 
rapid changes of Algol may be due to another cause ; namely, 
the existence of a huge, dark body revolving swiftly around 
it at close quarters in an orbit whose plane is directed edge- 
wise toward the earth, so that at regular intervals this dark 
body causes a partial eclipse of Algol. Notwithstanding the 
attacks that have been made upon this theory, it seems to 
hold its ground, and it will probably continue to find favor 
as a working hypothesis until some fresh light is cast upon 
the problem. It hardly needs to be said that the dark body 
in question, if it exists, must be of enormous size, bearing 
no such insignificant proportion to the size of Algol as the 
earth does to the sun, but being rather the rival in bulk of 
its shining brother — a blind companion, an extinguished sun. 

There was certainly great fitness in the selection of the 
little group of stars of which this mysterious Algol forms the 
most conspicuous member, to represent the awful head of the 
Gorgon carried by the victorious Perseus for the confusion of 
his enemies. In a darker age than ours the winking of this 
demon-star must have seemed a prodigy of sinister import. 

Turn now to the bright star Algenib, or Alpha Persei. 
You will find with the glass an exceedingly attractive spec- 
tacle there. In my note-book I find this entry, made while 
sweeping over Perseus for materials for this chapter: '*The 
field about Alpha is one of the finest in the sky for an opera- 
glass. Stars conspicuously ranged in curving lines and 


streams. A host follows Alpha from the east and south." 
The picture on page 84 will give the reader some notion of 
the exceeding beauty of this field of stars, and of the singular 
manner in which they are grouped, as it were, behind their 
leader. A field-glass increases the beauty of the scene. 

The reader will find a starry cluster marked on Map 17 as 
the *' Great Cluster." This object can be easily detected by 
the naked eye, resembling a wisp of luminous cloud. It 
marks the hand in which Perseus clasps his diamond sword, 
and, with a telescope of medium power, it is one of the most 
marvelously beautiful objects in the sky — a double swarm of 
stars, bright enough to be clearly distinguished from one an- 
other, and yet so numerous as to dazzle the eye with their 
lively beams. An opera-glass does not possess sufficient 
power to ''resolve" this cluster, but it gives a startling sug- 
gestion of its half-hidden magnificence, and the observer will 
be likely to turn to it again and again with increasing admi- 
ration. Sweep from this to Alpha Persei and beyond to get 
an idea of the procession of suns in the Milky- Way. The 
nebulous-looking cluster marked 34 M appears with an opera- 
glass like a faint comet. 

About a thousand years ago the theologians undertook to 
reconstruct the constellation figures, and to give them a re- 
ligious significance. They divided the zodiac up among the 
twelve apostles, St. Peter taking the place of Aries, with the 
Triangles for his mitre. In this reconstruction Perseus was 
transmogrified into St. Paul, armed with a sword in one hand 
and a book in the other ; Cassiopeia became Mary Magda- 
lene ; while poor Andromeda, stripped of aU her beauty and 
romance, was turned into a sepulchre ! 

Next look at Cassiopeia, which is distinctly marked out 
by the zigzag row of stars so well described by Aratus. Here 
the Milky- Way is so rich that the observer hardly needs any 
guidance ; he is sure to stumble upon interesting sights for 
himself. The five brightest stars are generally represented as 


indicating the outlines of the chair or throne in which the 
queen sits, the star Zeta (f ) being in her head. Look at Zeta 
with a good field-glass, and you will see a singular and brill- 
iant array of stars near it in a broken half-circle, which may 
suggest the notion of a crown. Near the little star Kappa (/c) 
in the map will be seen a small circle and the figures 1572. 
This shows the spot where the famous temporary star, which 
has of late been frequently referred to as the " Star of Beth- 
lehem," appeared. It was seen in 1572, and carefully ob- 
served by the famous astronomer Tycho Brahe. It seems to 
have suddenly burst forth with a brilliance that outshone 
every other star in the heavens, not excepting Sirius itself. 
But its supremacy was short-lived. In a few months it had 
sunk to the second magnitude. It continued to grow fainter, 
exhibiting some remarkable changes of color in the mean 
time, and in less than a year and a half it disappeared. It 
has never been seen since. But in 1264, and again in 945, 
a star is said to have suddenly blazed out near that point in 
the heavens. There is no certainty about these earlier appa- 
ritions, but, assuming that they are not apocryphal, they 
might possibly indicate that the star seen by Tycho was a 
periodical one, its period considerably exceeding three hun- 
dred years. Carrying this supposed period back, it was 
found that an apparition of this star might have occurred 
about the time of the birth of Christ. It did not require a 
very prolific imagination to suggest its identity with the so- 
called star of the Magi, and hence the legend of the Star of 
Bethlehem and its impending reappearance, of which we have 
heard so much of late. It will be observed, from the dates 
given above, that, even supposing them to be correct, no defi- 
nite period is indicated for the reappearance of the star. In 
one case the interval is three hundred and eight years, and in 
the other three hundred and nineteen years. In short, there 
are too many suppositions and assumptions involved to allow 
of any credence being given to the theory of the periodicity 


of Tycho's wonderful star. At the same time, nobody can 
say it is impossible that the star should appear again, and so 
it may be interesting for the reader to know where to look 
for it. 

Many of the most beautiful sights of this splendid con- 
stellation are beyond the reach of an opera-glass, and re- 
served for the grander powers of the telescope. 

We will pause but briefly with Cepheus, for the old king's 
constellation is comparatively dim in the heavens, as his part 
in the dramatic story of Andromeda was contemptible, and 
he seems to have got among the stars only by virtue of his 
relationship to more interesting persons. He does possess 
one gem of singular beauty — the star Mu, which may be 
found about two and a half degrees south of the star Nu {v). 
It is the so-called '^Garnet Star," thus named by William 
Herschel, who advises the observer, in order to appreciate its 
color, to glance from it to Alpha Cephei, which is a white 
star. Mu is variable, changing from the fourth to the sixth 
magnitude in a long period of five or six years. Its color is 
changeable, like its light. Sometimes it is of a deep garnet 
hue, and at other times it is orange-colored. Upon the whole, 
it appears of a deeper red than any other star visible to the 
naked eye. 

If you have a good field-glass, try its powers upon the star 
Delta (8) Cephei. This is a double star, the components being 
about forty-one seconds of arc apart, the larger of four and 
one half magnitude, and the smaller of the seventh magni- 
tude. The latter is of a beautiful blue color, while the larger 
star is yellow or orange. With a good eye, a steady hand, 
and a clear glass, magnifying not less than six diameters, you 
can separate them, and catch the contrasted tints of their 
light. Besides being a doable star, Delta is variable. 



I HAVE never beheld the first indications of the rising of 
Orion without a peculiar feeling of awakened expectation, 
like that of one who sees the curtain rise upon a drama of 
absorbing interest. And certainly the magnificent company 
of the winter constellations, of which Orion is the chief, make 
their entrance upon the scene in a manner that may be de- 
scribed as almost dramatic. First in the east come the world- 
renowned Pleiades. At about the same time Capella, one of 
the most beautiful of stars, is seen flashing above the north- 
eastern horizon. These are the sparkling ushers to the com- 
ing spectacle. In an hour the fiery gleam of Aldebaran 
appears at the edge of the dome below the Pleiades, a star 
noticeable among a thousand for its color alone, besides be- 
ing one of the brightest of the heavenly host. The observer 
familiar with the constellations knows, when he sees this red 
star which marks the eye of the angry bull, Taurus, that just 
behind the horizon stands Orion with starry shield and up- 
raised club to meet the charge of his gigantic enemy. With 
Aldebaran rises the beautiful V-shaped group of the Hyades. 
Presently the star-streams of Eridanus begin to appear in the 
east and southeast, the immediate precursors of the rising of 
Orion : 

" And now the river-flood's first winding reach 
The becalmed mariner may see in heaven, 
As he watches for Orion to espy if he hath aught to say 
Of the night's measure or the slumbering winds." 


The first glimpse we get of the hero of the sky is the long 
bending row of little stars that glitter in the lion's skin which, 
according to mythology, serves him for a shield. The great 
constellation then advances majestically into sight. First of 
its principal stars appears Bellatrix in the left shoulder ; then 
the little group forming the head, followed closely by the 
splendid Betelgeuse, '' the martial star," flashing like a deco- 
ration upon the hero's right shoulder. Then come into view 
the equally beautiful Rigel in the left foot, and the striking 
row of three bright stars forming the Belt. Below these 
hangs another starry pendant marking the famous sword of 
Orion, and last of all appears Saiph in the right knee. There 
is no other constellation containing so many bright stars. It 
has two of the first magnitude, Betelgeuse and Rigel ; the 
three stars in the Belt, and Bellatrix in the left shoulder, are 
all of the second magnitude ; and besides these there are 
three stars of the third magnitude, more than a dozen of the 
fourth, and innumerable twinklers of smaller magnitudes, 
whose commingled scintillations form a celestial illumination 
of singular splendor. 

^' Thus graced and armed he leads the starry host." 

By the time Orion has chased the Bull half-way up the 
eastern slope of the firmament, the peerless Dog- Star, Sirius, 
is flaming at the edge of the horizon, while farther north glit- 
ters Procyon, the little Dog-Star, and still higher are seen the 
twin stars in Gemini. When these constellations have ad- 
vanced well toward the meridian, as shown in our circular 
map, their united radiance forms a scene never to be forgot- 
ten. Counting one of the stars in Gemini as of the first rank, 
there are no less than seven first-magnitude stars ranged 
around one another in a way that can not fail to attract the 
attention and the admiration of the most careless observer. 
Aldebaran, Capella, the Twins, Procyon, Sirius, and Eigel 
mark the angles of a huge hexagon, while Betelgeuse shines 


with ruddy beauty not far from the center of the figure. The 
heavens contain no other naked-eye view comparable with 
this great array, not even the glorious celestial region where 
the Southern Cross shines supreme, being equal to it in 

As an offset to the discomforts of winter observations 
of the stars, the observer finds that the softer skies of sum- 
mer have no such marvelous brilliants to dazzle his eyes as 
those that illumine the hyemal heavens. To comprehend the 
real glories of the celestial sphere in the depth of winter one 
should spend a few clear nights in the rural districts of New 
York or New England, when the hills, clad with sparkling 
blankets of crusted snow, reflect the glitter of the living sky. 
In the pure frosty air the stars seem splintered and multi- 
plied indefinitely, and the brighter ones shine with a splen- 
dor of light and color unknown to the denizen of the smoky 
city, whose eyes are dulled and blinded by the glare of street- 
lights. There one may detect the delicate shade of green 
that lurks in the imperial blaze of Sirius, the beautiful rose- 
red light of Aldebaran, the rich orange hue of Betelguese, 
the blue-white radiance of Rigel, and the pearly luster of 
Capella. If you have never seen the starry heavens except 
as they appear from city streets and squares, then, I had 
almost said, you have never seen them at all, and especially 
in the winter is this true. I wish I could describe to you the 
impression that they can make upon the opening mind of a 
country boy, who, knowing as yet nothing of the little great 
world around him, stands in the yawning silence of night 
and beholds the inimitably great world above him, looking 
deeper than thought can go into the shining vistas of the 
universe, and overwhelmed with the wonder of those mar- 
shaled suns. 

Looking now at Map 18, we see the heavens as they ap- 
pear at midnight on the 1st of December, at 10 o'clock p. m. 
on the 1st of January, and at 8 o'clock p. m. on the 1st of 



February. In the western half of the sky we recognize An- 
dromeda, Pegasus, Pisces, Cetus, Aries, Cassiopeia, and other 

constellations that we studied in the ''Stars of Autumn." 
Far over in the east we see rising Leo, Cancer, and Hydra, 
which we included among the " Stars of Spring." Occupying 
most of the southern and eastern heavens are the constella- 
tions which we are now to describe under the name of the 



"Stars of Winter," because in that season they are seen un- 
der the most favorable circumstances. I have ah-eady re- 
ferred to the admirable way in which the principal stars of 
some of these constellations are ranged round one another. 




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e*\? ^**A 


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12 ; 

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Map 19. 

By the aid of the map the observer can perceive the rela- 
tive position of the different constellations, and, having 


fixed this in his mind, he will be prepared to study them in 

Let us now begin with Map No. 19, which shows us the 
constellations of Eridanus, Lepus, Orion, and Taurus. Erida- 
nus is a large though not very conspicuous constellation, 
which is generally supposed to represent the celebrated river 
now known as the Po. It has had different names among 
different peoples, but the idea of a river, suggested by its 
long, winding streams of stars, has always been preserved. 
According to fable, it is the river into which Phaeton fell 
after his disastrous attempt to drive the chariot of the sun for 
his father Phoebus, and in which hare-brained adventure he 
narrowly missed burning the world up. The imaginary river 
starts from the brilliant star Rigel, in the left foot of Orion, 
and flows in a broad upward bend toward the west ; then it 
turns in a southerly direction until it reaches the bright star 
Gamma (7), where it bends sharply to the north, and then 
quickly sweeps off to the west once more, until it meets the 
group of stars marking the head of Cetus. Thence it runs 
south, gradually turning eastward, until it flows back more 
than half-way to Orion. Finally it curves south again and 
disappears beneath the horizon. Throughout the whole dis- 
tance of more than 100° the course of the stream is marked 
by rows of stars, and can be recognized without difficulty 
by the amateur observer. 

The first thing to do with your opera-glass, after you have 
fixed the general outlines of the. constellation in your mind 
by naked-eye observations, is to sweep slowly over the whole 
course of the stream, beginning at Rigel, and following its va- 
rious wanderings. Eridanus ends in the southern hemisphere 
near a first-magnitude star called Achernar, which is situated 
in the stream, but can not be seen from our latitudes. Along 
the stream you will find many interesting groupings of the 
stars. In the map see the pair of stars below and to the right 
of Nu {v). These are the two Omicrons, the upper one being 


o* and the lower one o'. The latter is of an orange hue, and 
is remarkable for the speed with which it is flying through 
space. There are only one or two stars whose proper motion, 
as it is called, is more rapid than that of o' in Eridanus. It 
changes its place nearly seven minutes of arc in a century. 
The records of the earliest observations we possess show that 
near the beginning of the Christian era it was about half-way 
between o' and v. Its companion o\ on the contrary, seems 
to be almost stationary, so that o' will gradually draw away 
from it, passing on toward the southwest until, in the course 
of centuries, it will become invisible from our latitudes. 
This flying star is accompanied by two minute companions, 
which in themselves form a close and very delicate double 
star. These two little stars, of only 9*5 and 10*5 magnitude, 
respectively, are, of course beyond the ken of the observer 
with an opera-glass. The system of which they form a part, 
however, is intensely interesting, since the appearances indi- 
cate that they belong, in the manner of satellites, to o', and 
are fellow-voyagers of that wonderful star. 

Having admired the star-groups of Eridanus, one of the 
prettiest of which is to be seen around Beta (yS), let us turn 
next to Taurus, just above or north of Eridanus. Two re- 
markable clusters at once attract the eye, the Hyades, which 
are shaped somewhat like the letter V, with Aldebaran in the 
upper end of the left-hand branch, and the Pleiades, whose 
silvery glittering has made them celebrated in all ages. The 
Pleiades are in the shoulder and the Hyades in the face of 
Taurus, Aldebaran most appropriately representing one of 
his blazing eyes as he hurls himself against Orion. The con- 
stellation-makers did not trouble themselves to make a com- 
plete Bull, and only the head and fore-quarters of the animal 
are represented. If Taurus had been completed on the scale 
on which he was begun, there would have been no room in the 
sky for Aries ; one of the Fishes would have had to abandon 
his celestial swimming-place, and even the fair Andromeda 



would have found herself uncomfortably situated. But, as if 
to make amends for neglecting to furnish their heavenly Bull 
with hind-quarters, the ancients gave him a most prodigious 
and beautiful pair of horns, which make the beholder feel 
alarm for the safety of Orion. Starting out of the head 
above the Hyades, as illustrated in our cut, the horns curve 
upward and to the east, each being tipped by a bright star. 
Along and between the horns runs a scattered and broken 

The "Golden Horns" of Taurus. 

stream of minute stars which seem to be gathered into knots 
just beyond the end of the horns, where they dip into the 
edge of the Milky-Way. Many of these stars can be seen, on 
a dark night, with an ordinary opera-glass, but, to see them 
well, one should use as large a field-glass as he can obtain. 
With such a glass their appearance almost makes one suspect 
that Yirgil had a poetic prevision of the wonders yet to be 
revealed by the telescope when he wrote, as rendered by Dry- 
den, of the season — 

*' When with his golden horns in full career 
The Bull beats down the barriers of the year." 


Below the tips of the horns, and over Orion's head, there 
are also rich clusters of stars, as if the Bull were flaunting 
shreds of sparkling raiment torn from some celestial victim 
of his fury. With an ordinary glass, however, the observer 
will not find this star- sprinkled region around the horns of 
Taurus as brilliant a spectacle as that presented by the 
Hyades and the group of stars just above them in the Bull's 
ear. The two stars in the tips of the horns are both interest- 
ing, each in a different way. The upper and brighter one of 
the two, marked Beta (/5) in Map No. 19, is called El Nath. It 
is common to the left horn of Taurus and the right foot of 
Auriga, who is represented standing just above. It is a 
singularly white star. This quality of its light becomes con- 
spicuous when it is looked at with a glass. The most inex- 
perienced observer will hardly fail to be impressed by the 
pure whiteness of El Nath, in comparison with which he will 
find that many of the stars he had supposed to be white 
show a decided tinge of color. The star in the tip of the 
right or southern horn, Zeta (f), is remarkable, not on its 
own account, but because it serves as a pointer to a famous 
nebula, the discovery of which led Messier to form his cata- 
logue of nebulae. This is sometimes called the ''Crab Nebu- 
la," from the long sprays of nebulous matter which were seen 
surrounding it with Lord Rosse's great telescope. Our little 
sketch is simply intended to enable the observer to locate 
this strange object. If he wishes to study its appearance, he 
must use a powerful telescope. But with a first-rate field- 
glass he can see it as a speck of light in the position shown in 
the cut, where the large star is Zeta and the smaller ones are 
faint stars, the relative position of which will enable the ob- 
server to find the nebula, if he keeps in mind that the top of 
the cut is toward the north. It is noteworthy that this neb- 
ula for a time deceived several of the watchers who were on 
the lookout for the predicted return of Halley's comet in 


And now let us look at the Hyades, an assemblage of stars 
not less beautiful than their more celebrated sisters the Ple- 
iades. The leader of the Hyades 
is Aldebaran, or Alpha Tauri, and 
his followers are worthy of their 
leader. The inexperienced ob- 
server is certain to be surprised 
by the display of stars which an 
opera-glass brings to view in the 
Hyades. Our illustration will 
give some notion of their appear- 
ance with a large field-glass. The 
' ' brackish poet, " of whose rhymes 
Admiral Smyth was so fond, thus describes the Hyades: 

" In lustrous dignity aloft see Alpha Tauri shine, 
The splendid zone he decorates attests the Power divine : 
For mark around what glitt'ring orbs attract the wandering eye, 
You'll soon confess no other star has such attendants nigh." 

The redness of the light of Aldebaran is a very interesting 
phenomenon. Careful observation detects a decided differ- 
ence between its color and that of Betelgeuse, or Alpha Ono- 
nis, which is also a red star. It differs, too, from the brill- 
iant red star of summer, Antares. Aldebaran has a trace of 
rose-color in its light, while Betelgeuse is of a very deep 
orange, and Antares may be described as fire-red. These 
shades of color can easily be detected by the naked eye after 
a little practice. First compare Aldebaran and Betelgeuse, 
and glance from each to the brilliant white, or bluish- white, 
star R-igel in Orion's foot. Upon turning the eye back from 
Rigel to Aldebaran the peculiar color of the latter is readily 
perceived. Spectroscopic analysis has revealed the presence 
in Aldebaran of hydrogen, sodium, magnesium, calcium, 
iron, bismuth, tellurium, antimony, and mercury. And so 
modem discoveries, while they have pushed back the stars to 
distances of which the ancients could not conceive, have, at 



the same time, and equally, widened the recognized bounda- 
ries of the physical universe and abolished forever the ancient 
distinction between the heavens and the earth. It is a plain 
road from the earth to the stars, though mortal feet can not 
tread it. 

Keeping in mind that in our little picture of the Hyades 
the top is north, the right hand west, and the left hand east, 
the reader will be able to identify the principal stars in the 
group. Aldebaran is readily recognized, because it is the 
largest of all. The bright star near the upper edge of the 
picture is Epsilon Tauri, and its sister star, forming the point 
of the V, is Gamma Tauri. The three brightest stars between 
Epsilon and Gamma, forming a little group, are the Deltas, 
while the pair of stars surrounded by many smaller ones, 
half-way between Aldebaran and Gamma, are the Thetas. 
These stars present a very pretty appearance, viewed with a 
good glass, the effect being heightened by a contrast of color 
in the two Thetas. 
The little pair 
southeast of Alde- 
baran, called the 
Sigmas, is also a 
beautiful object. 
The distance apart 
of these stars is 
about seven min- 
utes of arc, while 
the distance be- 
tween the two The- 
tas is about five 
and a half minutes 
of arc. These 
measures may be 
useful to the read- 
er in estimating the distances between other stars that he 

The Hyades. 


may observe. It will also be found an interesting test of 
the eye-sight to endeavor to see these stars as doubles with- 
out the aid of a glass. Persons having keen eyes will be 
able to accomplish this. 

North of the star Epsilon will be seen a little group in the 
ear of the Bull (see cut, ''The Golden Horns of Taurus"), 
which presents a brilliant appearance with a small glass. 
The southernmost pair in the group are the Kappas, whose 
distance apart is very nearly the same as that of the Thetas, 
described above ; but I think it improbable that anybody 
could separate them with the naked eye, as there is a full 
magnitude between them in brightness, and the smaller star 
is only of magnitude 6*5, while sixth-magnitude stars are 
generally reckoned as the smallest that can be seen by the 
naked eye. Above the Kappas, and in the same group in the 
ear, are the two Upsilons, forming a wider pair. 

Next we come to the Pleiades: 

" Though small their size aud pale their light, wide is their fame." 

In every age and in every country the Pleiades have been 
watched, admired, and wondered at, for they are visible from 
every inhabited land on the globe. To many they are popu- 
larly known as the Seven Stars, although few persons can see 
more than six stars in the group with the unaided eye. It is 
a singular fact that many of the earliest writers declare that 
only six Pleiades can be seen, although they all assert that 
they are seven in number. These seven were the fabled 
daughters of Atlas, or the Atlantides, whose names were 
Merope, Alcyone, Celseno, Electra, Taygeta, Asterope, and 
Mala. One of the stories connected with them is that Merope 
married a mortal, whereupon her star grew dim among her 
sisters. Another fable assures us that Electra, unable to en- 
dure the sight of the burning of Troy, hid her face in her 
hands, and so blotted her star from the sky. While we may 
smile at these stories, we can not entirely disregard them, for 


they are intermingled with some of the richest literary treas- 
ures of the world, and they come to us, like some old keep- 
sake, perfumed with the memory of a past age. The mytho- 
logical history of the Pleiades is intensely interesting, too, 
because it is world-wide. They have impressed their mark, 
in one way or another, upon the habits, customs, traditions, 
language, and history of probably every nation. This is true 
of savage tribes as well as of great empires. The Pleiades 
furnish one of the principal links that appear to connect the 
beginnings of human history with that wonderful prehistoric 
past, where, as through a gulf of mist, we seem to perceive 
faintly the glow of a golden age beyond. The connection of 
the Pleiades with traditions of the Flood is most remarkable. 
In almost every part of the world, and in various ages, the 
celebration of a feast or festival of the dead, dimly connected 
by traditions with some great calamity to the human race in 
the past, has been found to be directly related to the Ple- 
iades. This festival or rite, which has been discovered in 
various forms among the ancient Hindoos, Egyptians, Per- 
sians, Peruvians, Mexicans, Druids, etc., occurs always in 
the month of November, and is regulated by the culmination 
of the Pleiades. The Egyptians directly connected this cele- 
bration with a deluge, and the Mexicans, at the time of the 
Spanish conquest, had a tradition that the world had once 
been destroyed at the time of the midnight culmination of the 
Pleiades. Among the savages inhabiting Australia and the 
Pacific island groups a similar rite has been discovered. It 
has also been suggested that the Japanese feast of lanterns is 
not improbably related to this world-wide observance of the 
Pleiades, as commemorating some calamitous event in the far 
past which involved the whole race of man in its effects. 

The Pleiades also have a supposed connection with that 
mystery of mysteries, the great Pyramid of Cheops. It has 
been found that about the year 2170 b. c, when the begin- 
ning of spring coincided with the culmination of the Pleiades 


at midnight, that wonderful group of stars was visible, just 
at midnight, through the mysterious southward-pointing pas- 
sage of the Pyramid. At the same date the then pole-star, 
Alpha Draconis, was visible through the northward-pointing 
passage of the Pyramid. 

Another curious myth involving the Pleiades as a part of 
the constellation Taurus is that which represents this constel- 
lation as the Bull into which Jupiter changed himself when 
he carried the fair Europa away from Phoenicia to the conti- 
nent that now bears her name. In this story the fact that 
only the head and fore-quarters of the Bull are visible in the 
sky is accounted for on the ground that the remainder of his 
body is beneath the water through which he is swimming. 
Here, then, is another apparent link with the legends of the 
Flood, with which the Pleiades have been so strangely con- 
nected, as by common consent among many nations, and in 
the most widely separated parts of the earth. 

With the most powerful field-glass you may be able to see 
all of the stars represented in our picture of the Pleiades. 
With an ordinary opera-glass the fainter ones will not be visi- 
ble ; yet even with such a glass the scene is a remarkable one. 
Not only all of the *' Seven Sisters," but many other stars, 
can be seen twinkling among them. The superiority of 
Alcyone to the others, which is not so clear to the naked eye, 
becomes very apparent. Alcyone is the large star below the 
middle of the picture with a triangle of little stars beside it. 
To the left or east of Alcyone the two most conspicuous stars 
are Atlas and Pleione. The latter — which is the uppermost 
one — is represented too large in the picture. It requires a 
sharp eye to see Pleione without a glass, while Atlas is plain- 
ly visible to the unaided vision, and is always counted among 
the naked-eye Pleiades, although it does not bear the name 
of one of the mythological sisters, but that of their father. 
The bright star below and to the right of Alcyone is Merope ; 
the one near the right-hand edge of the picture, about on a 



The Pleiades. 

level with Alcyone, is Electra. Above, or to the north of 
Electra, are two 
bright stars lying 
in a line pointing 
toward Alcyone ; 
the upper one of 
these, or the one 
farthest from Al- 
cyone, is Taygeta, 
and the other is 
Maia. Above Tay- 
geta and Maia, and 
forming a little tri- 
angle with them, is 
a pair of stars which 
bears the name of 

Asterope. About half-way between Taygeta and Electra, and 
directly above the latter, is Celseno. 

The naked-eye observer will probably find it difficult 
to decide which he can detect the more easily, Celseno or 
Pleione, while he will discover that Asterope, although com- 
posed of two stars, as seen with a glass, is so faint as to be 
much more difficult than either Celseno or Pleione. Unless, 
as is not improbable, the names have become interchanged 
in the course of centuries, the brightness of these stars would 
seem to have undergone remarkable changes. The star of 
Merope, it will be remembered, was said to have become in- 
distinct, or disappeared, because she married a mortal. At 
present Merope is one of those that can be plainly seen with 
the naked-eye, while the star of Asterope, who was said to 
have had the god Mars for her spouse, has faded away until 
only a glass can show it. It would appear, then, that not- 
withstanding an occasional temporary eclipse, it is, in the 
long run, better to marry a plain mortal than a god. Electra, 
too, who hid her eyes at the sight of burning Troy, seems to 


have recovered from lier fright, and is at present, next to 
Alcyone, the brightest star in the cluster. But, however we 
may regard those changes in the brightness of the Pleiades 
which are based upon tradition, there is no doubt that well- 
attested changes have taken place in the comparative brill- 
iancy of stars in this cluster since astronomy became an ex- 
act science. 

Observations of the proper motions of the Pleiades have 
shown that there is an actual physical connection between 
them ; that they are, literally speaking, a flight of suns. 
Their common motion is toward the southwest, under the 
impulse of forces that remain as yet beyond the grasp of 
human knowledge. Alcyone was selected by Madler as the 
central sun around which the whole starry system revolved, 
but later investigations have shown that his speculation was 
not well founded, and that, so far as we can determine, the 
proper motions of the stars are not such as to indicate the 
existence of any common center. They appear to be flying 
with different velocities in every direction, although — as in 
the case of the Pleiades — we often find groups of them asso- 
ciated together in a common direction of flight. 

Still another curious fact about the Pleiades is the exist- 
ence of some rather mysterious nebulous masses in the clus- 
ter. In 1859 Temple discovered an extensive nebula, of a 
broad oval form, with the star Merope immersed in one end 
of it. Subsequent observations showed that this strange 
phenomenon was variable. Sometimes it could not be seen ; 
at other times it was very plain and large. In Jeaurat's 
chart of the Pleiades, made in 1779, a vast nebulous mass 
is represented near the stars Atlas and Pleione. This has 
since been identified by Goldschmidt as part of a huge, ill- 
defined nebula, which he thought he could perceive envel- 
oping the whole group of the Pleiades. Many observers, 
however, could never see these nebulous masses, and were 
inclined to doubt their actual existence. Within the past 


few years astronomical photography, having made astonish- 
ing progress, has thrown new light upon this mysterious sub- 
ject. The sensitized plate of the camera, when applied at the 
focus of a properly constructed telescope, has proved more 
effective than the human retina, and has, so to speak, enabled 
us to see beyond the reach of vision by means of the pictures 
it makes of objects which escape the eye. In November, 
1885, Paul and Prosper Henry turned their great photograph- 
ing telescope upon the Pleiades, and with it discovered a 
nebula apparently attached to the star Maia. The most pow- 
erful telescopes in the world had never revealed this to the 
eye. Yet of its actual existence there can be no question. 
Their photograph also showed the Merope nebula, although 
much smaller, and of a different form from that represented 
by its discoverer and others. There evidently yet remains 
much to be discovered in this singular group, and the min- 
gling of nebulous matter with its stars makes Tennyson's 
picturesque description of the Pleiades appear all the more 
life-like : 

** Many a night I saw the Pleiads, rising through the mellow shade. 
Glitter like a swarm of fire-flies tangled in a silver hraid.^^ 

The reader should not expect to be able to see the nebulae 
in the Pleiades with an opera-glass. I have thought it prop- 
er to mention these singular objects only in order that he 
might be in possession of the principal and most curious facts 
about those interesting stars.* 

* The Henry Brothers have continued the photographic work described 
above, and their later achievements are even more interesting and wonderful. 
They have found that there are many nebulous masses involved in the group of 
the Pleiades, and have photographed them. One of the most amazing phenom- 
ena in their great photograph of the Pleiades is a long wisp or streak of nebulous 
matter, along which eight or nine stars are strung in a manner which irresistibly 
suggests an intimate connection between the stars and the nebula. This recalls 
the recent (August, 1888) discovery made by Prof. Holden, with the great Lick 
telescope, concerning the structure of the celebrated ring nebula in Lyra, which, it 
appears, is composed of concentric ovals of stars and nebulous stuff, so arranged that 
we must believe they are intimately associated in a most wonderful community. 


Orion will next command our attention. You will find 
the constellation in Map No. 19 : 

" Eastward beyond the region of the Bull 
Stands great Orion ; whoso kens not him in cloudless night 
Gleaming aloft, shall cast his eyes in vain 
To find a brighter sign in all the heaven." 

To the naked eye, to the opera-glass, and to the telescope, 
Orion is alike a mine of wonders. This great constellation 
embraces almost every variety of interesting phenomena that 
the heavens contain. Here we have the grandest of the nebu- 
lae, some of the largest and most beautifully colored stars, 
star-streams, star- clusters, nebulous stars, variable stars. I 
have already mentioned the positions of the principal stars 
in the imaginary figure of the great hunter. I may add that 
his upraised arm and club are represented by the stars seen 
in the map above Alpha (a) or Betelgeuse, one of which is 
marked Nu {v\ and another, in the knob of the club, Chi (%). 
I have also, in speaking of Aldebaran, described the contrast 
in the colors of Betelgeuse and Beta (/3) or Rigel. Betelgeuse, 
it may be remarked, is slightly variable. Sometimes it ap- 
pears brighter than Rigel, and sometimes less brilliant. It is 
interesting to note that, according to Secchi's division of the 
stars into types, based upon their spectra, Betelgeuse falls 
into the third order, which seems to represent a type of suns 
in which the process of cooling, and the formation of an ab- 
sorptive envelope or shell, have gone on so far that we may 
regard them as approaching the point of extinction. Rigel, 
on the other hand, belongs to the first order or type which 
represents suns that are probably both hotter and younger in 
the order of development. So, then, we may look upon the 
two chief stars of this great constellation as representing two 
stages of cosmical existence. Betelgeuse shows us a sun that 
has almost run its course, that has passed into its decline, 
and that already begins to faint and flicker and grow dim 
before the on-coming and inevitable fate of extinction ; but 



in Rigel we see a sun blazing with the fires of youth, splen- 
did in the first glow of its solar energies, and holding the 
promise of the future yet before it. Rigel belongs to a new 
generation of the universe ; Betel- 
geuse to the universe that is pass- 
ing. We may pursue this compari- 
son one step farther back and see 
in the great nebula, which glows 
dimly in the middle of the con- 
stellation, between Rigel trium- 
phant and Betelgeuse languishing, 
a still earlier cosmical condition — 
the germ of suns whose infant rays 
may illuminate space when Rigel 
itself is growing dim. 

Turn your glass upon the three 
stars forming the Belt. You will 
not be likely to undertake to count 
all the twinkling lights that you 
will see, especially as many of 

them appear and disappear as you turn your attention to 
different parts of the field. Sweep all around the Belt and 
also between the Belt and Gamma (7) or Bellatrix. Accord- 
ing to the old astrologers, women born under the influence 
of the star Bellatrix were lucky, and provided with good 
tongues. Of course, this was fortunate for their husbands 

Below the Belt will be seen a short row of stars hanging 
downward and representing the sword. In the middle of 
this row is the great Orion nebula. The star Theta {6) in- 
volved in the nebula is multiple, and the position of this 
little cluster of suns is such that, as has been said, they seem 
to be feeding upon the substance of the nebula surrounding 
them. Other stars are seen scattered in different parts of 
the nebula. This phenomenon can be plainly seen with an 


The Sword of Orion and the 
Great Nebula. 


opera-glass. Our picture of the Sword of Orion shows its 
appearance with a good field-glass. With such a glass sev- 
eral fine test-objects will be found in the Sword. One of the 
best of these is formed by the two five-pointed stars seen in 
the picture close together above the nebula. No difficulty 
will be encountered in separating these stars with a field- 
glass, but it will require a little sharp watching to detect 
the small star between the two and just above the line 
joining them. So, the bending row of faint stars above 
and to the right of the group just described will be found 
rather elusive as individuals, though easily glimpsed as a 
whole. Of the great nebula itself not much detail can be 
seen. Yet by averting the eyes the extension of the 
nebulous light in every direction from the center can be 
detected, and traced, under favorable circumstances, to a 
considerable distance. The changes that this nebula cer- 
tainly has undergone in the brilliancy, if not in the form, 
of different parts of it, are perhaps indications of the opera- 
tion of forces, which we know must prevail there, and whose 
tendency can only be in the direction of condensation, and 
the ultimate formation of future suns and worlds. Yet, 
as the appearance of the nebula in great telescopes shows, we 
can not expect that the processes of creation will here pro- 
duce a homologue of our solar system. The curdled appear- 
ance of the nebula indicates the formation of various centers 
of condensation, the final result of which will doubtless be a 
group of stars like some of those which we see in the heavens, 
and whose common motion shows that they are bound togeth- 
er in the chains of reciprocal gravitation. The Pleiades are 
an example of such a group. 

Do not fail to look for a little star just west of Rigel, 
which, with a good opera-glass, appears to be almost hidden 
in the flashing rays of its brilliant companion. If you have 
also a field-glass, after you have detected this shy little 
twinkler with your opera-glass, try the larger glass upon it. 


You will find then that the little star originally seen is not 
the only one there. A still smaller star, which had before 
been completely hidden, will now be perceived. I may add 
that, with telescopes, Kigel is one of the most beautiful 
double stars in the sky, having a little blue companion close 
under its wing. Run your glass along the line of little stars 
forming the lion's skin or shield that Orion opposes to the 
onset of Taurus. Here you will find some interesting com- 
binations, and the star marked on the map it" will especially 
attract your eye, because it is accompanied, about fifteen 
minutes to the northwest, by a seventh-magnitude star of a 
rich orange hue. 

Look next at the little group of three stars forming the 
head of Orion. Although there is no nebula here, yet these 
stars, as seen with the naked eye, have a remarkably nebu- 
lous look, and Ptolemy regarded the group as a nebulous 
star. The largest star is called Lambda (X) ; the others are 
Phi (</)) one and two. An opera-glass will show another star 
above (\), and a fifth star below </>^ which is the farthest of 
the two Phis from Lambda. It will also reveal a faint twink- 
ling between \ and <\)\ A field-glass shows that this twinkling 
is produced by a pretty little row of three stars of the eighth 
and ninth magnitudes. 

In fact, Orion is such a striking object in the sky that 
more than one attempt has been made to steal away its name 
and substitute that of some modern hero. The University of 
Leipsic, in 1807, formally resolved that the stars forming the 
Belt and Sword of Orion should henceforth be known as the 
constellation of Napoleon. As if to offset this, an English- 
man proposed to rename Orion for the British naval bull-dog 
Nelson. But ''Orion armed" has successfully maintained 
his name and place against all comers. As becomes the 
splendor of his constellation, Orion is a tremendous hero of 
antiquity, although it must be confessed that his history is 
somewhat shadowy and uncertain, even for a mythological 



story. All accounts agree, however, that he was the mighti- 
est hunter ever known, and the Hebrews claimed that he was 
no less a person than Nimrod himself. 

The little constellations of Lepus and Columba, below 
Orion, need not detain us long. You will find in them some 




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M N G E R S 




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^ 46 M if #38^ 

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^ 93 M 

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.■■■* COLUMBA 


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Map 20. 

pretty combinations of stars. In Lepus is the celebrated 
** Crimson Star," which has been described as resembling a 
drop of blood in color — a truly marvelous hue for a sun — 
but, as it is never brighter than the sixth magnitude, and 


from that varies down to the ninth, we could hardly hope to 
see its color well with an opera-glass. Besides, the observer 
would have difficulty in finding it. 

We will now turn to the constellation of Canis Major, rep- 
resented in Map No. 20. Although, as a constellation, it is 
not to be compared with the brilliant Orion, yet, on account 
of the unrivaled magnificence of its chief star, Canis Major 
presents almost as attractive a scene as its more extensive 
rival. Everybody has heard of Sirius, or the Dog-Star, and 
everybody must have seen it flashing and scintillating so 
splendidly in the winter heavens, that to call it a first-magni- 
tude star does it injustice, since no other star of that magni- 
tude is at all comparable with it. Sirius, in fact, stands in a 
class by itself as the brightest star in the sky. Its light is 
white, with a shade of green, which requires close watching to 
be detected. When it is near the horizon, or when the at- 
mosphere is very unsteady, Sirius flashes prismatic colors 
like a great diamond. The question has been much dis- 
cussed, as to whether Sirius was formerly a red star. It 
is described as red by several ancient authors, but it seems 
to be pretty well established that these descriptions are most 
of them due to a blunder made by Cicero in his translation 
of the astronomical poem of Aratus. It is not impossible, 
though it is highly improbable, that Sirius has changed 

So intimately was Sirius connected in the minds of the 
ancient Egyptians with the annual rising of the Nile, that it 
was called the Nile-star. When it appeared in the morning 
sky, just before sunrise, the season of the overflowing of the 
great river was about to begin, and so the appearance of this 
star was regarded as foretelling the coming of the floods. 
The dog-days got their name from Sirius, as they occur at 
the time when that star rises with the sun. 

Your eyes will be fairly dazzled when you turn your glass 
upon this splendid star. By close attention you will be able 


to perceive a number of faint stars, mere points by compari- 
son, in the immediate neighborhood of Sirius. There are 

many interesting ob- 
jects in the constella- 
tion. The star marked 
Nu iy) in the map is 
really triple, as the 
smallest glass will show. 
Look next at the star- 
group 41 M. The cloud 
of minute stars of which 
it is composed can be 
very well seen with a 
field-glass or a powerful 
opera -glass. The star 
22 is of a very ruddy 

Delta Canis Majoris and its Neighbors. '' *' 

color that contrasts 
beautifully with the light of Epsilon (e), which can be seen 
in the same field of view with an opera-glass. Between the 
stars Delta (S) and o' and o' there is a remarkable array of 
minute stars, as shown in the accompanying cut. One never 
sees stars arranged in streams or rows, like these, without 
an irresistible impression that the arrangement can not be 
accidental ; that some law must have been in operation which 
associated them together in the forms which we see. Yet, 
when we reflect that these are all suns, how far do we seem 
to be from understanding the meaning of the universe ! 

The extraordinary size and brilliancy of Sirius might 
naturally enough lead one to suppose that it is the nearest of 
the stars, and such it was once believed to be. Observations 
of stellar parallax, however, show that this was a mistake. 
The distance of Sirius is so great that no satisfactory determi- 
nation of it has yet been made. We may safely say, though, 
that that distance is, at the least calculation, 50,000,000,000,- 
000 miles. In other words, Sirius is about 537,000 times as 


far from the eatth as the sun is. Then, since light diminishes 

as the square of the distance increases, the sun, if placed as 

far from us as Sirius is, would send us, in round numbers, 

288,000,000,000 times less light than we now receive from it. 

But Sirius actually sends us only about 4,000,000,000 times 

less light than the sun does ; consequently Sirius must shine 

288,000,000,000 ^^ ^. , .„. ^^ 

4 000 000 000 ~ *i™^s ^s brilliantly as the sun. If we 

adopt Wollaston'g estimate of the light of Sirius, as compared 
with that of the sun, viz., 20.000.0 00.000 ? we shall still find 
that the actual brilliancy of that grand star is more than four- 
teen times as great as that of our sun. But as observations 
on the companion of Sirius show that Sirius's mass is fully 
twenty times the sun's, and since the character of Sirius's 
spectrum indicates that its intrinsic brightness, surface for 
surface, is much superior to the sun's, it is probable that our 
estimate of the star's actual brilliancy, as compared with what 
the sun would possess at the same distance, viz., seventy- 
two times, is much nearer the truth. It is evident that life 
would be insupportable upon the earth if it were placed as 
near to Sirius as it is to the sun. If the earth were a planet 
belonging to the system of Sirius, in order to enjoy the same 
amount of heat and light it now receives, it would have to be 
removed to a distance of nearly 800,000,000 miles, or eight 
and a half times its distance from the sun. Its time of revolu- 
tion around Sirius would then be nearly five and a half years, 
or, in other words, the year would be lengthened five and a 
half times. 

But, as I have said, the estimate of Sirius's distance used 
in these calculations is the smallest that can be accepted. 
Good authorities regard the distance as being not less than 
100,000,000,000,000 miles ; in which case the star's brilliancy 
must be as much as 228 times greater than that of the sun ! 
And yet even Sirius is probably not the greatest sun belong- 
ing to the visible universe. There can be little doubt that 


Canopus, in tlie southern hemisphere, is a grander sun than 
Sirius. To our eyes, Canopus is only about half as bright as 
Sirius, and it ranks as the second star in the heavens in the or- 
der of brightness. But while Sirius' s distance is measurable, 
that of Canopus is so unthinkably immense that astronomers 
can get no grip upon it. If it were only twice as remote as 
Sirius, it would be equal to two of the latter, but in all proba- 
bility its distance is much greater than that. And possibly 
even Canopus is not the greatest gem in the coronet of 

Sirius, as we saw when talking of Procyon (see Chapter I), 
is a double star. For many years after Bessel had declared 
his belief that the Dog-Star was subjected to the attraction 
of an invisible companion, telescopes failed to reveal the ac- 
companying star.* Finally, in 1862, a new telescope that 
Alvan Clark had just finished and was testing, brought the 
hidden star into view. The suggestion that it may shine by 
reflected light from Sirius has been made. In that case it 
must, of course, be a planet, but a planet of such stupendous 
magnitude that the imagination can scarcely grasp it ; a 
planet probably as large as our sun, perhaps larger ; a planet 
equal in size to more than a million earths ! But, as was re- 
marked of the faint stars in Alpha Capricornis, it is probable 
that the hypothesis of reflected light is not the true one. 
More probably the companion of Sirius shines with light of 
its own, though its excessive faintness in comparison with its 
bulk indicates that its condition must be very different from 
that of an ordinary star. 

* The following extract from a letter by Bessel to Hnmboldt, written in 1844 
(see "Cosmos," vol. iii, p. 186), is interesting, in view of the discoveries made 
since then: " At all events I continue in the belief that Procyon and Sirius are 
true double stars, consisting of a visible and an invisible star. No reason exists 
for considering luminosity an essential property of these bodies. The fact that 
numberless stars are visible is evidently no proof against the existence of an 
equally incalculable number of invisible ones. The physical difficulty of a 
change in the proper motion is satisfactorily set aside by the hypothesis of dark 


Readers of Yoltaire will remember that the hero of his ex- 
traordinary story of "Micromegas'^ came from an imaginary 
planet circling around Sirius. Inasmuch as Yoltaire, to- 
gether with Dean Swift, ascribed two moons to Mars many 
years before they were discovered (probably suggested by a 
curiously mistaken interpretation by Kepler of an anagram 
in which Galileo had concealed his discovery of the ring of 
Saturn), it is all the more interesting that the great infidel 
should have imagined an enormous planet circling around the 
Dog-Star. But Yoltaire went far astray when he ascribed a 
gigantic stature to his "Sirian." He makes Micromegas, 
whose world was 21,600,000 times larger in circumference than 
the earth, more than twenty miles tall, so that when he visited 
our little planet he was able to wade through the oceans and 
step over the mountains without inconvenience, and, when 
he had scooped up some of the inhabitants on his thumb-nail, 
was obliged to use a powerful microscope in order to see 
them. Yoltaire should rather have gone to some of the most 
minute of the asteroids for his giant, for under the tre- 
mendous gravitation of such a world as he has described 
Micromegas himself would have been a fit subject for micro- 
scopic examination. But, however much we may doubt the 
stature of Yoltaire's visitor from Sirius, we can not doubt the 
soundness of the conclusion at which he anived, after hav- 
ing, by an ingenious arrangement, succeeded in holding a 
conversation with some earthly philosophers under his micro- 
scope, namely, that these infinitely little creatures possessed a 
pride that was almost infinitely great. 

East and south of Canis Major, which, by-the-way, is 
said to represent one of Orion's hounds, is part of the con- 
stellation Argo, which stands for the ship in which Jason 
sailed in search of the golden fleece. The observer will find 
many objects of interest here, although some of them are so 
close to the horizon in our latitudes that much of their brill- 
iancy is lost. Note the two stars ? and ir near the lower edge 


of the map, then sweep slowly over the space lying between 
them. About half-way your attention will be arrested by a 
remarkable stellar arrangement, in which a beautiful half- 
circle of small stars curving above a larger star, which is red- 
dish in color, is conspicuous. This neighborhood will be 
found rich in stars that the naked eye can not see. Just be- 
low the star 77, in Canis Major, is. another fine group. The 
star TT, which is deep yellow or orange, has three little stars 
above it, two of which form a pretty pair. The star f has a 
companion, which forms a fine test for an opera-glass, and is 
well worth looking for. Look also at the cluster 93 M, just 
above and to the west of f. The stars ^ and k are seen 
double with an opera-glass. 

The two neighboring clusters, 46 M and 38", are very inter- 
esting objects. To see them well, use a powerful field-glass. 
A " fiery fifth-magnitude star," as Webb calls it, can be seen 
in the field at the same time. The presence of the Milky- 
Way is manifest by the sprinkling of stars all about this 
region. In fact, the attentive observer will before this have 
noticed that the majority of the most brilliant constellations 
lie either in the Milky- Way or along its borders. Cassiopeia, 
as we saw, sits athwart the galaxy whose silvery current 
winds in and out among the stars of her ''chair"; Perseus 
is aglow with its sheen as it wraps him about like a mantle 
of stars ; Taurus has the tips of his horns dipped in the great 
stream ; it flows between the shining feet of Gemini and the 
head and shoulders of Orion as between starry banks ; the 
peerless Sirius hangs like a gem pendent from the celestial 
girdle. In the southern hemisphere we should find the beau- 
tiful constellation of the ship Argo, containing Canopus, sail- 
ing along the Milky- Way, blown by the breath of old romance 
on an endless voyage ; the Southern Cross glitters in the very 
center of the galaxy ; and the bright stars of the Centaur 
might be likened to the heads of golden nails pinning this 
wondrous scarf, woven of the beams of millions of tiny stars, 


against the dome of the sky. Passing back into the northern 
hemisphere we find Scorpio, Sagittarius, Aquila, the Dolphin, 
Cygnus, and resplendent Lyra, all strung along the course of 
the Milky- Way. 

Turning now to the constellation Monoceros, we shall find 
a few objects worthy of attention. This constellation is of 
comparatively modern origin, having been formed by Bart- 
schius, whose chief title to distinction is that he married the 
daughter of John Kepler. The region around the stars 8, 13, 
and 17 will be found particularly rich, and the cluster 2' 
shows well with a strong glass. Look also at the cluster 
50 M, and compare its appearance with that of the clusters in 

With these constellations we finish our review of the 
stellar wonders that lie within the reach of so humble an 
instrument as an opera- or field-glass. We have made the 
circuit of the sky, and the hosts that illumine the vernal 
heavens are now seen advancing from the east, and pressing 
close upon the brighter squadrons of winter. Their familiar 
figures resemble the faces of old friends whom we are glad to 
welcome. These starry acquaintances never grow wearisome. 
Their interest for us is as fathomless as the deeps of space in 
which they shine. The man never yet lived whose mind 
could comprehend the full meaning of the wondrous messages 
that they flash to us upon the wings of light. As we watch 
them in their courses, the true music of the spheres comes to 
our listening ears, the chorus of creation — faint with distance, 
for it is by slow approaches that man draws near to it — 
chanting the grandest of epics, the Poem of the Universe ; 
and the theme that runs through it all is the reign of law. 
Do not be afraid to become a star-gazer. The human mind 
can find no higher exercise. He who studies the stars will 
discover — 

" An endless fountain of immortal drink 
Pouring unto us from heaven's brink." 


THE moo:n^, the planets, and the sun. 

*'It is a most beautiful and delightful sight," exclaims 
Galileo, in describing the discoveries he had made with his 
telescope, '' to behold the body of the moon, which is distant 
from us nearly sixty semi-diameters of the earth, as near as 
if it was at a distance of only two of the same measures. . . . 
And, consequently, any one may know with the certainty 
that is due to the use of our senses that the moon assuredly 
does not possess a smooth and polished surface, but one 
rough and uneven, and, just like the face of the earth itself, 
is everywhere full of vast protuberances, deep chasms, and 

There was, perhaps, nothing in the long series of dis- 
coveries with which Galileo astonished the world after he had 
constructed his telescope, which, as he expresses it, "was 
devised by me through God's grace first enlightening my 
mind," that had a greater charm for him than his lunar ob- 
servations. Certainly there was nothing which he has de- 
scribed with greater enthusiasm and eloquence. And this 
could hardly have been otherwise, for the moon was the first 
celestial object to which Galileo turned his telescope, and 
then for the first time human eyes may be said to have 
actually looked into another world than the earth, though 
his discoveries and those of his successors have not realized 
all the poetic fancies about the moon contained in the verses 
that are ascribed to Orpheus : 


** And he another wandering world has made 
Which gods Selene name, and men the moon. 
It mountains, cities has, and temples grand." 

Yet Galileo's observations at once upset the theory, for which 
ApoUonius was responsible, and which seems to have been 
widely prevalent up to his time, that the moon was a smooth 
body, polished like a mirror, and presenting in its light and 
dark spots reflections of the continents and oceans of the 
earth. He also demonstrated that its surface was covered 
with plains and mountains, but the *' cities and temples" of 
the moon have remained to our time only within the ken of 

Galileo's telescope, as I have before remarked, was, in the 
principle of its construction, simply an opera-glass of one 
tube. He succeeded in making a glass of this kind that 
magnified thirty diameters, a very much higher power than 
is given to the opera- and field-glasses of to-day. Yet he had 
to contend with the disadvantages of single lenses, achro- 
matic combinations of glass for optical purposes not being 
contrived until nearly a hundred years after his death, and 
so his telescope did not possess quite as decided a superiority 
over a modern field -glass as the difference in magnifying 
power would imply. In fact, if the reader will view the 
moon with a first-rate field-glass, he will perceive that the 
true nature of the surface of the lunar globe can be readily 
discerned with such an instrument. Even a small opera- 
glass will reveal much to the attentive observer of the moon ; 
but for these observations the reader should, if possible, 
make use of a field-glass, and the higher its power the better. 
The illustrations accompanying this chapter were made by the 
author with the aid of a glass magnifying seven diameters. 

Of course, the first thing the observer will wish to see will 
be the mountains of the moon, for everybody has heard of 
them, and the most sluggish imagination is stirred by the 
thought that one can look off into the sky and behold '*the 


eternal hills" of another planet as solid and substantial as 
our own. But the chances are that, if left to their own 
guidance, ninety-nine persons out of a hundred would choose 
exactly the wrong time to see these mountains. At any rate, 
that is my experience with people who have come to look at 
the moon through my telescope. Unless warned beforehand, 
they invariably wait until full moon, when the flood of sun- 
shine poured perpendicularly upon the face of our satellite 
conceals its rugged features as effectually as if a veil had 
been drawn over them. Begin your observations with the 
appearance of the narrowest crescent of the new moon, and 
follow it as it gradually fills, and then you will see how beau- 
tifully the advancing line of lunar sunrise reveals the mount- 
ains, over whose slopes and peaks it is climbing, by its ragged 
and sinuous outline. The observer must keep in mind the 
fact that he is looking straight down upon the tops of the 
lunar mountains. It is like a view from a balloon, only at a 
vastly greater height than any balloon has ever attained. 
Even with a powerful telescope the observer sees the moon 
at an apparent distance of several hundred miles, while with 
a field-glass, magnifying seven diameters, the moon appears as 
if thirty-five thousand miles off. The apparent distance with 
Galileo's telescope was eight thousand miles. Recollect how 
when seen from a great height the rugosities of the earth's 
surface flatten out and disappear, and then try to imagine 
how the highest mountains on the earth would look if you 
were suspended thirty-five thousand miles above them, and 
you will, perhaps, rather wonder at the fact that the moon's 
mountains can be seen at all. 

It is the contrast of lights and shadows that not only re- 
veals them to us, but enables us to measure their height. 
On the moon shadows are very much darker than upon the 
earth, because of the extreme rarity of the moon's atmos- 
phere, if indeed it has any atmosphere at all. By stepping 
around the corner of a rock there, one might pass abruptly 


from dazzling noonday into the blackness of midnight. The 
surface of the moon is extraordinarily rough and uneven. 
It possesses broad plains, which are probably the bottoms of 
ancient seas that have now dried up, but these cover only 
about two fifths of the surface visible to us, and most of the 
remaining three fifths are exceedingly rugged and mountain- 
ous. Many of the mountains of the moon are, foot for foot, 
as lofty as the highest mountains on the earth, while all of 
them, in proportion to the size of the moon's globe, are much 
larger than the earth's mountains. It is obvious, then, that 
the sunshine, as it creeps over these Alpine landscapes in the 
moon, casting the black shadows of the peaks and craters 
many miles across the plains, and capping the summits of 
lofty mountains with light, while the lower regions far around 
them are yet buried in night, must clearly reveal the charac- 
ter of the lunar surface. Mountains that can not be seen at 
all when the light falls perpendicularly upon them, or, at the 
most, appear then merely as shining points, picture them- 
selves by their shadows in startling silhouettes when illumi- 
nated laterally by the rising sun. 

But at full moon, while the mountains hide themselves in 
light, the old sea-beds are seen spread out among the shining 
table lands with great distinctness. Even the naked eye 
readily detects these as ill-defined, dark patches upon the 
face of the moon, and to their presence are due the popular 
notions that have prevailed in all quarters of the world about 
the "Man in the Moon," the "Woman in the Moon," "Jacob 
in the Moon," the "Hare in the Moon," the "Toad in the 
Moon," and so on. But, however clearly one may imagine 
that he discerns a man in the moon while recalling the 
nursery-rhymes about him, an opera-glass instantly puts the 
specter to flight, and shows the round lunar disk diversified 
and shaded like a map.* 

♦ I should, perhaps, qualify the statement in the text slightly in favor of a 
lunar lady to whom Mr. Henry M. Parkhurst first called my attention. About 


A feature of the full moon's surface that instantly attracts 
attention is the remarkable brightness of the southern part 
of the disk, and the brilliant streaks radiating from a bright 
point near the lower edge. The same simile almost invaria- 
bly comes to the lips of every person who sees this phenom- 
enon for the first time— " It looks like a peeled orange." The 
bright point, which is the great crater-mountain Tycho, looks 
exactly like the pip of the orange, and the light- streaks radi- 
ating from it in all directions bear an equally striking resem- 
blance to the streaks that one sees upon an orange after the 
outer rind has been removed. I shall have something more 
to say about these curious streaks further on ; in the mean 
time, let us glance at our little sketch-map of the moon. 

The so-called seas are marked on the map, for the purpose 
of reference, by the letters which they ordinarily bear in 
lunar maps. The numerals indicate craters, or ring-plains, 
and mountain-ranges. The following key-list will enable 
the reader to identify all the objects that are lettered or num- 
bered upon the map. I have given English translations of 
the Latin names which the old astronomers bestowed upon 
the seas : 

nine days after new moon a rather pretty and decidedly feminine face appears on 
the western half of the disk. It is formed by the mountains and table-lands em- 
braced by the Sea of Serenity, the Sea of Tranquillity, the Sea of Vapors, etc., 
and is best seen with the aid of an opera-glass of low power. The face is readily 
distinguishable on Rutherfurd's celebrated photograph of the full moon. It is 
necessary for this purpose to turn the photograph upside down, since it is a tele- 
scopic picture, and consequently reversed. The crater Tycho forms a breastpin 
for the lady, and Menelaus glitters like a diamond ornament in her hair, while 
the range of the Apennines resembles a sort of coronet resting on her forehead. 
This same woman in the moon, it appears, was described by Dr. James Thompson 
years ago, and, for aught I know, she may be the Diana to whom Herrick sang: 

" Queen and huntress chaste and fair, 
Seated in thy silver chair, 
Now the Sun is laid to sleep, 
State in wonted manner keep. 
Hesperus entreats thy light, 
Goddess excellently bright." 



Map op the Moon. 
8ecu% GulfSy and Marshes. 

A. The Crisian Sea 

I. The Marsh of Mists. 

R. The Bay of Dew. 

B. Humboldt Sea. 

K. The Marsh of Putrefaction. 

S. The Sea of Clouds. 

C. The Sea of Cold. 

L. The Sea of Vapors. 

T. The Sea of Hiunors. 

D. The Lake of Death. 

M. The Central Gulf. 

V. The Sea of Nectar. 

E. The Lake of Dreams. 

N. The Gulf of Heats. 

X. The Sea of Fertility. 

F. The Marsh of Sleep. 

O. The Sea of Showers. 

Z. The South Sea. 

G. The Sea of Tranquillity. 

P. The Bay of Rainbows. 

H. The Sea of Serenity. 

Q. The Ocean of Storms. 

Mountains and Crater Rings. 

1. Grimaldi. 

15. Walter. 

28. Petavius. 

41. The Alps. 

2. Letronne. 

16. Regiomontanus. 

29. Langrenus. 

42. Plato. 

3. Gassendi. 

17. Purbach. 

30. Proclus. 

43. Archimedes. 

4. Euchdes. 

18. Arzachel. 

31. Cleomedes. 

44. The Apennines. 

5. BuUialdus. 

19. Alphonsus. 

32. Atlas. 

46. Eratosthenes. 

6. Pitatus. 

20. Ptolemaus. 

33. Hercules. 

46. Copernicus. 

7. Schickhard. 

21. Hipparchus. 

22. Albategnius. 

34. Posidonius. 

47. The Carpathian Mts. 

8. Longomontanus. 

9. Tycho. 
10. Maginus. 

35. Plinius. 

48. Timocharis. 

23. Theophilus. 

24. CyrUlus. 

36. Menelaus. 

49. Lambert. 

37. Manilius. 

50. Euler. 

11. Clavius. 

25. Catharina. 

38. The Caucasus Mts. 

51. Aristarchus. 

12. Newton. 

26. The Altai Mts. 

39. Eudoxus. 

52. Kepler. 

13. Maurolycus. 

27. Piccolomini. 

40. Aristotle. 

53. Flamsteed. 

14. Stofler. 


The early selenographers certainly must have been men of 
vivid imagination, and the romantic names they gave to the 
lunar landscapes, and particularly to the " seas," add a charm 
of their own to the study of the moon. Who would not wish 
to see the "Bay of Rainbows," or the "Lake of Dreams," or 
the " Sea of Tranquillity," if for no other reason than a curi- 
osity to know what could have induced men to give to these 
regions in the moon such captivating titles ? Or who would 
not desire to visit them if he could ? though no doubt wo 
should find them, like the "Delectable Mountains" in the 
"Pilgrim's Progress," most charming when seen from afar. 

The limited scale of our map, of course, renders it im- 
possible to represent upon it more than a comparatively small 
number of the lunar mountains that have received names. In 
selecting those to be put in the map I have endeavored to 
choose such as, on account of their size, their situation, or 
some striking peculiarity, would be most likely to attract the 
attention of a novice. The observer must not expect to see 
them all at once, however. The lunar features change their 
appearance to a surprising extent, in accordance with the 
direction of their illumination. Some great mountain-masses 
and ring-plains, or craters, which present scenes of magnifi- 
cence when the sun is rising or setting upon them, disap- 
pear under a perpendicular light, such as they receive at full 
moon. The great crater-plain, known as Maginus, numbered 
10 in our map, is one of these. The broken mountain-wall 
surrounding this vast depressed plain rises in some places to 
a height of over fourteen thousand feet above the valley with- 
in, and the spectacle of sunrise upon Maginus, seen with a 
powerful telescope, is a most impressive sight, and even 
with a field-glass is very interesting. Yet, a few days later, 
Maginus vanishes, as if it had been swallowed up, and as 
Beer and Madler have expressed it, " the full moon knows no 
Maginus." The still grander formation of mountain, plain, 
and crater, called Clavius (11 in the map), disappears almost 


as completely as Maginus at full moon, yet, under the proper 
illumination, it presents a splendid pageant of light and 

On the other hand, some of the lunar mountains shine 
vividly at full moon, and can be well seen then, though, of 
course, only as light spots, since at that time they cast no 
shadows. Menelaus (36 in the map), Aristarchus (51), Pro- 
clus (30), Copernicus (46), and Kepler (52), are among these 
shining mountains. Aristarchus is the most celebrated of 
them all, being the brightest point on the moon. It can even 
be seen glimmering on the dark side of the moon— that is to 
say, when no light reaches it except that which is reflected 
from the earth. With a large telescope, Aristarchus is so 
dazzlingly bright under a high sun, that the eye is partly 
blinded in gazing at it. It consists of a mountain- ring sur- 
rounding a circular valley, about twenty-eight miles in diam- 
eter. The flanks of these mountains, especially on their 
inner slopes, and the floor of the valley within, are very 
bright, while a peak in the center of the valley, about as high 
as Storm- King Mountain on the Hudson, shines with piercing 
brilliancy. Sir William Herschel mistook it for a volcano in 
action. It certainly is not an active volcano, but Just what 
makes it so dazzling no one knows. The material of which 
this mountain is formed would seem to possess a higher re- 
flective power than that of any other portion of the moon's 
surface. One is irresistibly reminded of the crystallized 
mountains described in the celebrated ''Moon Hoax" of 
Richard Adams Locke.* With an opera-glass you can readi- 
ly recognize Aristarchus as a bright point at full moon. 
With a tield-glass it is better seen, and some of the short, 
light rays surrounding it are perceived, while, when the sun 
is rising upon it, about four days after first quarter, its cra- 
teriform shape can be detected with such a glass. 

The visibility of Aristarchus on the dark side of the moon 
leads us to a brief consideration of the illumination by the 



earth of that portion of the moon's surface which is not 
touched directly by sunlight at new and old moon. This 

phenomenon is 
shown in the ac- 
companying illus- 
tration. Not only 
can the outlines of 
the dark part of 
the moon be seen 
under such circum- 
stances, but even 
the distinction in 
color between the 
dusky "seas" and 
the more brilliant 
table - lands and 
mountain - regions 
can be perceived, 
and with powerful 
telescopes many minor features come into sight. A little con- 
sideration must convince any one, as it convinced Galileo more 
than two hundred and seventy-five years ago, that the light 
reflected from the earth upon the moon is sufficient to pro- 
duce this faint illumination of the lunar landscapes. We 
have only to recall the splendors of a night that is lighted by 
a full moon, and then to recollect that at new or old moon 
the earth is ''full" as seen from our satellite, and that a full 
earth must give some fourteen times as much light as a full 
moon, in order to realize the brilliancy of an earth-lit night 
upon the moon. As the moon waxes to us, the earth wanes 
to the moon, and nice nersa^ and so the phenomenon of earth- 
shine on the lunar surface must be looked for before the first 
quarter and after the last quarter of the moon. 

The reader will find it an attractive occupation to iden- 
tify, by means of the map, the various "seas," "lakes," and 

Sunrise on the Sea of Serenity, and Theophilus and 
OTHER Craters. 


"marshes," for not only are they interesting on account of 
the singularity of their names, but they present many re- 
markable differences of appearance, which may be perceived 
with the instrument he is supposed to be using. The oval 
form of the Crisian Sea (A), which is the first of the ''seas" 
to come into sight at new moon, makes it a very striking 
object. With good telescopes, and under favorable illumina- 
tion, a decidedly green tint is perceived in the Crisian Sea. 
It measures about two hundred and eighty by three hundred 
and fifty-five miles in extent, and is, perhaps, the deepest of 
all the old sea-beds visible on the moon. It is surrounded 
by mountains, which can be readily seen when the sun strikes 
athwart them a few days after new or full moon. On the 
southwestern border a stupendous mountain-promontory, 
called Cape Agarum, projects into the Crisian Sea fifty or 
sixty miles, the highest part rising precipitously eleven thou- 
sand feet above the floor of the sea. I have seen Cape Aga- 
rum very clearly defined with a field-glass. Near the eastern 
border is the crater-mountain Proclus, which I have already 
mentioned as possessing great brilliancy under a high sun, 
being in this respect second only to Aristarchus. 

From the foot of Proclus spreads away the somewhat 
triangular region called the Marsh of Sleep (F). The term 
''golden-brown," which has been applied to it, perhaps 
describes its hue well enough. With a telescope it is a 
most interesting region, but with less powerful instru- 
ments one must be content with recognizing its outline and 

The broad, dark-gray expanse of the Sea of Tranquillity 
(G) will be readily recognized by the observer, and he will be 
interested in the mottled aspect which it presents in certain 
regions, caused by ridges and elevations, which, when this 
sea-bottom was covered with water, may have formed shoals 
and islands. 

The Sea of Fertility (X) is remarkable for its irregular 


surface, and the long, crooked bays into which its southern 
extremity is divided. 

The Sea of Nectar (Y) is connected with the Sea of Tran- 
quillity by a broad strait (one would naturally anticipate 
from their names that there must be some connection between 
them), while between it and the Sea of Fertility runs the 
range of the Pyrenees Mountains, twelve thousand feet high, 
flanked by many huge volcanic mountain-rings. 

The Sea of Serenity (H), lying northeast of the Sea of 
Tranquillity, is about four hundred and twenty miles broad 
by four hundred and thirty miles long, being very nearly of 
the same area as our Caspian Sea. It is deeper than the Sea 
of Tranquillity, and a greenish hue is sometimes detected in 
its central parts. It deepens toward the middle. Three 
quarters of its shore-line are bordered by high mountains, 
and many isolated elevations and peaks are scattered over 
its surface. In looking at these dried-up seas of the moon, 
one is forcibly reminded of the undulating and in some 
places mountainous character of terrestrial sea-bottoms, as 
shown by soundings and the existence of small islands in 
the deep sea, like the Bermudas, the Azores and St. Helena, 
The Sea of Serenity is divided nearly through the center by 
a narrow, bright streak, apparently starting from the crater- 
mountain Menelaus (36 in the map), but really taking its rise 
at Tycho far in the south. This curious streak can be readily 
detected even with a small opera-glass. Just what it is no 
one is prepared to say, and so the author of the "Moon 
Hoax" was fairly entitled to take advantage of the ro- 
mancer's license, and declare that "its edge throughout its 
whole length of three hundred and forty miles is an acute 
angle of solid quartz- crystal, brilliant as a piece of Derby- 
shire spar just brought from the mine, and containing scarce- 
ly a fracture or a chasm from end to end ! " Along the south- 
ern shore, on either side of Menelaus, extends the high range 
of the Hsemus Mountains. South and southeast of the Sea 


of Serenity are the Sea of Vapors (L), the Central Gulf (M), 
and the Gulf of Heats (N). The observer will notice at full 
moon three or four curious dark spots in the region occupied 
by these flat expanses. On the north and northwest of the 
Sea of Serenity are the Lake of Death (D), and the Lake of 
Dreams (E), chiefly remarkable for their names. 

The Sea of Showers (O) is a very interesting region, not 
only in itself, but on account of its surroundings. Its level 
is very much broken by low, winding ridges, and it is varie- 
gated by numerous light- streaks. At its western end it 
blends into the Marsh of Mists (I) and the Marsh of Putre- 
faction (K). On its northeast border is the celebrated Sinus 
Iridum, or Bay of Rainbows (P), upon which selenographers 
have exhausted the adjectives of admiration. The bay is 
semicircular in form, one hundred and thirty-five miles long 
and eighty-four miles broad. Its surface is dark and level. 
At either end a splendid cape extends into the Sea of Show- 
ers, the eastern one being called Cape Heraclides, and the 
western Cape Laplace. They are both crowned by high 
peaks. Along the whole shore of the bay runs a chain of 
gigantic mountains, forming the southern border of a wild 
and lofty plateau, called the Sinus Iridum Highlands. Of 
course, a telescope is required to see the details of this 
''most magnificent of all lunar landscapes," and yet much 
can be done with a good field-glass. With such an instru- 
ment I have seen the capes at the ends of the bay project- 
ing boldly into the dark, level expanse surrounding them, 
and the high lights of the bordering mountains sharply con- 
trasted with the dusky semicircle at their feet, and have been 
able to detect the presence of the low ridges that cross the 
front of the bay like shoals, separating it from the "sea" 
outside. Two or three days after first quarter, the shadows 
of the peaks about the Bay of Rainbows may be seen. The 
Bay of Dew (R) above the Bay of Rainbows, and the Sea of 
Cold (C), are the northernmost of the dark levels visible. It 


was in keeping with the supposed character of this region of 
the Moon that Eiccioli named two portions of it the Land of 
Hoar Frost and the Land of Drought. 

Extending along the eastern side of the disk is the great 
Ocean of Storms (Q), while between the Ocean of Storms and 
the middle of the moon lies the Sea of Clouds (S). Both of 
these are very irregular in outline, and much broken by 
ridges and mountains. The Sea of Humors (T), although 
comparatively small, is one of the most easily seen of all 
the lunar plains. To the naked eye it looks like a dark, 
oval patch on the moon. With a telescope it is seen, un- 
der favorable conditions, to possess a decided green tint. 
Humboldt Sea (B) and the South Sea (Z) belong principally 
to that part of the moon which is always turned away from 
the earth, and only their edges project into the visible hemi- 
sphere, although, under favorable librations, their farther 
borders, lined as usual with mountain-peaks, may be detect- 
ed. For our purposes they possess little interest. 

Let us now glance at some of the mountains and " craters." 
The dark oval called Grimaldi (1) can be detected by the 
naked eye, or at least it has been thus seen, although it re- 
quires a sharp eye ; and perhaps a shade or a pair of eye- 
glasses of London smoke-glass, to take off the glare of the 
moon, should be used in looking for it.* It is simply a plain, 
containing some fourteen thousand square miles, remarkable 
for its dark color, and surrounded by mountains. Schickhard 
(7) is another similar plain, nearly as large, but not possessing 
the same dark tint in the interior. The huge mountains 
around Schickhard make a line spectacle when the sun is 
rising upon them shortly before full moon. 

* There are other uses to which such eye-glasses may be put by sky-gazers. 
I habitually carry a pair for studying clouds. It is wonderful how much the 
effect of great cloud-masses is heightened by them, especially when seen in a 
bright light. Delicate curls and strise of cirrus, which escape the uncovered eye 
in the glare of sunlight, can be readily detected and studied by the use of neutral- 
tinted eye-glasses or spectacles. 


Tycho (9) is the most famous of the crater-mountains, 
though not the largest. It is about fifty-four miles across 
and three miles deep. In its center is a peak five or six 
thousand feet high. Tycho is the radial point of the great 
light-streaks that, as I have already remarked, cause the 
southern half of the moon to be likened to a peeled orange. 
It is a tough problem in selenography to account for these 
streaks. They are best seen at full moon. They can not 
be seen at all until the sun has risen to a certain elevation 
above them, 25° according to Neison ; but, when they once 
become visible, they dominate everything. They turn aside 
for neither mountains nor plains, but pass straight on their 
courses over the ruggedest regions of the moon, retaining 
their brilliancy undiminished, and pouring back such a fiood 
of reflected light that they completely conceal some of the 
most stupendous mountain-masses across which they lie. 
They clearly consist of different material from that of which 
the most of the moon's surface is composed — a material pos- 
sessing a higher reflective power. In this respect they re- 
semble Aristarchus and other lunar craters that are remark- 
able for their brilliancy under a high illumination. Tycho 
itself, the center or hub, from which these streaks radiate 
like spokes, is very brilliant in the full moon. But imme- 
diately around Tycho there is a dark rim some twenty-five 
miles broad. Beyond this rim the surface becomes bright, 
and the bright region extends about ninety miles farther. 
Out of it spring the great rays or streaks, which vary from 
ten to twenty miles in width, and many of which are several 
hundred miles long — one, which we have already mentioned 
as extending across the Sea of Serenity, being upward of 
two thousand miles in length. It has been truly said that 
we have nothing like these streaks upon the earth, and so 
there is no analogy to go by in trying to determine their 
nature. It has been suggested that if the moon had been 
split or shattered from within by some tremendous force, 


and molten matter from the interior had been thrust up into 
the cracks thus formed, and had cooled there into broad 
seams of rock, possessing a higher reflective power than the 
surrounding surface of the moon, then the appearances pre- 
sented would not be unlike what we actually see. But there 
are serious objections to such a view, which we have not 
space to discuss here. It is enough to say that the nature 
of these streaks is still a question awaiting solution, and here 
is an opportunity for an important discovery, but not one to 
be achieved with an opera-glass. 

I may add an interesting suggestion as to the nature of 
these streaks made by the Rev. Mr. Grensted. He holds that 
the air and water of the moon were chemically, and not me- 
chanically, absorbed in the process of oxidation which went 
on at the time when her. surface temperature was above a red 
heat. Having a much larger surface in proportion to her 
bulk than the earth, the oxidation of the moon has, he 
thinks, extended much deeper than that of the earth, and 
her atmosphere and oceans have been exhausted in the pro- 
cess. Both the earth and the moon, he maintains, have 
metallic nuclei, and the streaks about Tycho and Copernicus, 
and some other lunar craters, may be dikes of pure and 
shining metal, which have escaped oxidation owing to the 
comparatively small supply of lunar oxygen. Upon this 
theory Xristarchus must be a metallic mountain. 

Clavius (11) is one of the most impressive of all the lunar 
formations. There probably does not exist anywhere upon 
the earth so wild a scene upon a corresponding scale of grand- 
eur. Of course, its details are far beyond the reach of the 
instrument we are supposed to be using, and yet, even with 
a field-glass, or a powerful opera-glass, some of its main feat- 
ures are visible. It is represented in our picture of the half- 
moon, being the lowest and largest of the ring-like forms seen 
at the inner edge of the illuminated half of the disk ; the rays 
of the rising sun touching the summits of some of the peaks 


in its interior have brought them into sight as a point of 
light, and at the same time, reaching across the gulf within, 
have lighted up the higher 
slopes of the great mountain- 
wall on the farther or eastern 
side of the crater - valley, 
making it resemble a semi- 
circle of light projecting into 
the blackness of the still un- 
illuminated plains around it. 
I should advise every reader 
to take advantage of any op- 
portunity that may be pre- 
sented to him to see Clavius 
with a powerful telescope 
when the sun is either rising 

^ Sunrise on Clavius, Tycho, Plato, etc. 

or setting upon it. Neison 

has given a spirited description of the scene, as follows : 

The sunrise on Clavius commences with the illumination of a few- 
peaks on the western wall, but soon rapidly extends along the whole 
wall of Clavius, which then presents the appearance of a great double 
bay of the dark night-side of the moon penetrating so deep into the 
illuminated portion as to perceptibly blunt the southern horn to the 
naked eye. Within the dark bay some small, bright points soon ap- 
pear — the summits of the great ring-plains within — followed shortly by 
similar light-points near the center, due to peaks on the walls of the 
smaller ring-plains, these light-islands gradually widening and form- 
ing delicate rings of light in the dark mass of shadow still enveloping 
the floor of Clavius. Far in the east then dimly appear a few scarcely 
perceptible points, rapidly widening into a thin bright line, the crest 
of the great southeastern wall of Clavius, the end being still lost far 
within the night-side of the moon. By the period the extreme sum- 
mit of the lofty wall of Clavius on the east becomes distinct, fine 
streaks of light begin to extend across the dark mass of shadow on the 
interior of Clavius, from the light breaking through some of the 
passes on the west wall and illuminating the interior ; and these 
streaks widen near the center and form illuminated spots on the 
floor, when both east and west it still lies deeply immersed in shadow, 


strongly contrasting with the now brightly illuminated crest of the 
lofty east wall and the great circular broad rings of light formed by 
the small ring-plains within Clavius. The illumination of the inte- 
rior of Clavius now proceeds rapidly, and forms a magnificent specta- 
cle : the great, brightly illuminated ring-plains on the interior, with 
their floors still totally immersed in shadow ; the immense steep line 
of cliffs on the east and southeast are now brilliantly illuminated, 
though the entire surface at their base is still immersed in the shades 
of night ; and the great peaks on the west towering above the floor 
are thrown strongly into relief against the dark shadow beyond them. 

Newton (12) is the deepest of the great crateriform chasms 
on the moon. Some of the peaks on its walls rise twenty- 
fonr thousand feet above the interior gulf. Its shadow, and 
those of its gigantic neighbors — for the moon is here crowded 
with colossal walls, peaks, and craters — may be seen break- 
ing the line of sunlight below Clavius, in our illustration. I 
have just spoken of these great lunar formations as chasms. 
The word describes very well the appearance which some of 
them present when the line separating day and night on the 
moon falls across them, but the reader should not be led by 
it into an erroneous idea of their real character. Such forma- 
tions as Newton, which is one hundred and forty miles long 
by seventy broad, may more accurately be described as vast 
depressed plains, generally containing peaks and craters, 
which are surrounded by a ring of steep mountains, or 
mountain-walls, that rise by successive ridges and terraces 
to a stupendous height. 

The double chain of great crater-plains reaching half 
across the center of the moon contains some of the grandest 
of these strange configurations of conjoined mountain, plain, 
and crater. The names of the principal ones can be learned 
from the map, and the reader will find it very interesting to 
watch them coming into sight about first quarter, and passing 
out of sight about third quarter. At such times, with a field- 
glass, some of them look like enormous round holes in the 
inner edge of the illuminated half of the moon. Theophilus 


(23), Cyrillus (24), and Catharina (25), are three of the finest 
walled plains on the moon— Theophilus, in particular, being 
a splendid specimen of such formations. This chain of 
craters may be seen rapidly coming into sunlight at the edge 
of the Sea of Nectar, in our picture of "Sunrise on the Sea 
of Serenity," etc. The Altai Mountains (26) are a line of 
lofty cliffs, two hundred and eighty miles in length, sur- 
mounting a high table-land. 

The Caucasus Mountains (38) are a mass of highlands and 
peaks, which introduce us to a series of formations resem- 
bling those of the mountainous regions of the earth. The 
highest peak in this range is about nineteen thousand feet. 
Between the Caucasus and the Apennines (44) lies a level 
pass, or strait, connecting the Sea of Serenity with the Sea 
of Showers. The Apennines are the greatest of the lunar 
mountain- chains, extending some four hundred and sixty 
miles in length, and containing one peak twenty- one thou- 
sand feet high, and many varying from twelve thousand to 
nearly twenty thousand. It will thus be seen that the Apen- 
nines of the earth sink into insignificance in comparison with 
their gigantic namesakes on the moon. As this range runs 
at a considerable angle to the line of sunrise, its high peaks 
are seen tipped with sunlight for a long distance beyond the 
generally illuminated edge about the time of first quarter. 
Even with the naked eye the sun-touched summits of the 
lunar Apennines may at that time be detected as a tongue 
of light projecting into the dark side of the moon. The Alps 
(41) are another mountain-mass of great elevation, whose high- 
est peak is a good match for the Mont Blanc of the earth, 
after which it has been named. 

Plato (42) is a very celebrated dark and level plain, sur- 
rounded by a mountain-ring, and presenting in its inte- 
rior many puzzling and apparently changeable phenomena 
which have given rise to much speculation, but which, of 
course, lie far beyond the reach of opera-glasses. Plato is 


seen in the picture of '' Sunrise on Clavius," etc., on page 
133, being the second ring from the top. 

If Ariosto had had a telescope, we might have suspected 
that it was this curious plain that he had in mind when he 
described that strange valley in the moon, in which was to 
be found everything that was lost from the earth, including 
lost wits ; and where the redoubtable knight Astolpho, hav- 
ing been sent in search of the missing wit of the great 
Orlando, was astonished to find what he sought carefully 
preserved in a vial along with other similar vials belonging 
to many supposedly wise people of the earth, whom nobody 
suspected of keeping a good part of their sapience in the 

Copernicus (46) is the last of the lunar formations that we 
shall describe. It bears a general resemblance to Tycho, and 
is slightly greater in diameter ; it is, however, not quite so 
deep. It has a cluster of peaks in the center, whose tops 
may be detected with a field-glass, as a speck of light when 
the rays of the morning sun, slanting across the valley, illu- 
minate them while their environs are yet buried in night. 
Copernicus is the center of a system of light-streaks some- 
what resembling those of Tycho, but very much shorter. 

We must not dismiss the moon without a few words as to 
its probable condition. It was but natural, after men had 
seen the surface of the moon diversified with hills and valleys 
like another earth, that the opinion should find ready ac- 
ceptance that beings not unlike ourselves might dwell upon 
it. Nothing could possibly have been more interesting than 
the realization of such a fancy by the actual discovery of the 
lunar inhabitants, or at least of unmistakable evidence of 
their existence. The moon is so near to the earth, as astro- 
nomical distances go, and the earth and the moon are so inti- 
mately connected in the companionship of their yearly jour- 
ney around the sun, and their greater journey together with 
the sun and all his family, through the realms of space, that 


we should have looked upon the lunar inhabitants, if any had 
existed, as our neighbors over the way— dwelling, to be sure, 
upon a somewhat more restricted domain than ours, vassals 
of the earth in one sense, yet upon the whole very respecta- 
ble and interesting people, with whom one would be glad to 
have a closer acquaintance. But, alas ! as the powers of the 
telescope increased, the vision of a moon crowded with life 
faded, until at last the cold fact struck home that the moon 
is, in all probability, a frozen and dried-up globe, a mere 
planetary skeleton, which could no more support life than 
the Humboldt glacier could grow roses. And yet this opin- 
ion may go too far. There is reason for thinking that the 
moon is not absolutely airless, and, while it has no visible 
bodies of water, its soil may, after all, not be entirely arid 
and desiccated. There are observations which hint at visible 
changes in certain spots that could possibly be caused by 
vegetation, and there are other observations which suggest 
the display of electric luminosity in a rarefied atmosphere 
covering the moon. To declare that no possible form of life 
can exist under the conditions prevailing upon the lunar sur- 
face would be saying too much, for human intelligence can 
not set bounds to creative power. Yet, within the limits of 
life, such as we know them, it is probably safe to assert that 
the moon is a dead and deserted world. In other words, if a 
race of beings resembling ourselves, or resembling any of our 
contemporaries in terrestrial life, ever existed upon the moon, 
they must long since have perished. That such beings may 
have existed, is possible, particularly if it be true, as generally 
believed, that the moon once had a comparatively dense at- 
mosphere and water upon its surface, which have now, in the 
process of cooling of the lunar globe, been withdrawn into its 
interior. It certainly does not detract from the interest with 
which we study the rugged and beautiful scenery of the 
moon to reflect that if we could visit those ancient sea-bot- 
toms, or explore those glittering mountains, we might, per- 


chance, find there some remains or mementos of a race that 
flourished, and perhaps was all gathered again to its fathers, 
before man appeared upon the earth. 

That slight physical changes, such as the downfall of 
mountain-walls or crater-cones, still occasionally occur upon 
the moon, is an opinion entertained by some selenographers, 
and apparently justified by observation. The enormous 
changes of temperature, from burning heat under a cloudless 
sun to the freezing cold of space at night with no atmospheric 
blanket to retain heat (which has generally been assumed to 
be the condition of things on the moon), would naturally 
exert a disintegrating effect upon the lunar rocks. But the 
question is now in dispute whether the surface of the moon 
ever rises above the freezing-point of water, even under a 
midday sun. 

Mankind has always been a little piqued by the impossi- 
bility of seeing the other side of the moon, and all sorts of 
odd fancies have been indulged in regard to it. Among the 
most curious is the ancient belief that the souls of the good 
who die on earth are transported to that side of the moon 
which is turned away from the earth ; while the souls of the 
wicked sojourn on this side, in full view of the scene of their 
evil deeds. The visible side of the moon — with its tremen- 
dous craters, its yawning chasms, its frightful contrasts of 
burning sunshine and Cimmerian darkness, its airless and 
arid plains and dried-up sea-bottoms exposed to the pitiless 
cold of open space, and heated, if heated at all, by scorching 
sunbeams as fierce as naked flame — would certainly appear to 
be in a proper condition to serve as a purgatory. But we 
have no reason to think that the other side is any better off 
in these respects. In fact, the glimpses that we get of it 
around the corners, so to speak, indicate that the whole 
round globe of the moon is as ragged, barren, and terrible as 
that portion of it which is turned to our view. 

The Planets, — In attempting to view the planets with an 



opera-glass, too much must not be expected ; and yet interest- 
ing views can sometimes be obtained. The features of their 
surfaces, of course, can not be detected even with a powerful 
field-glass, but the difference between the appearance of a 
large planet and that of the stars will at once strike the ob- 
server. Mercury, which, on account of its nearness to the 
sun and its rapid changes of place, comparatively few persons 
ever see, can perhaps hardly be called an interesting object 
for an opera-glass, and yet the beauty of the planet is greatly 
increased when viewed with such aid. Mercury is brilliant 
enough to be readily distinguishable, even while the twilight 
is still pretty bright ; and I have had most charming views of 
the shy planet, glittering like a globule of shining metal 
through the fading curtain of a winter sunset. 

Venus is, under favorable circumstances, a very interesting 
planet for opera-glass observations. The crescent phase can 
be seen with a powerful glass near inferior conjunction, and, 
even when the form of the planet can not be discerned, its ex- 
ceeding brilliancy makes it an attractive object. The flood of 
light which Venus pours forth, and which is so dazzling 
that it baffles the best telescopes, to a greater or less extent, 
in any effort to descry the features of that resplendent disk, 
is evidently reflected from a cloud-burdened atmosphere. 
While these clouds render the planet surprisingly lustrous 
to our eyes, they must, of course, keep the globe be- 
neath them most of the time in shadow. It is a source of 
keen regret that the surface of Venus can not be seen as 
clearly as that of Mars, for, a priori^ there is rather more 
reason to regard Venus as possibly an inhabited world than 
any other of the Earth's sister planets, not excepting Mars. 
Still, even if we could plainly make out the presence of 
oceans and continents on Venus, that fact would hardly be 
any better indication of the possibility of life there than is 
furnished by the phenomena of its atmosphere. It is an 
interesting reflection that in admiring the brilliancy of this 



splendid planet the light that produces so striking an effect 
upon our eyes has but a few minutes before traversed the 
atmosphere of a distant world, which, like our own air, may 
furnish the breath of life to millions of intelligent creatures, 
and vibrate with the music of tongues speaking languages as 
expressive as those of the earth. 

Mars, being both more distant and smaller than Yenus, 
does not present so splendid a scene, and yet when it is at 
or near opposition it is a superb object even for an opera- 
glass, its deep reddish-yellow color presenting a fine contrast 
to that of most of the stars. It can often be seen in conjunc- 
tion with, or near to, the moon and stars, and the beauty of 
these phenomena is in some cases greatly enhanced by the 
use of a glass. To find Mars (and the same remark applies 
to the other planets), take its right ascension and declination 
for the required date from the Nautical Almanac, and then 
mark its place upon a planisphere or any good star-map. 
This planet is at the present time (1888) slowly drawing 
nearer to the earth at each opposition, and in 1892 it will be 
closer to us than at any time since 1877, when its two mi- 
nute satellites were discovered. It will consequently grow 
brighter every year until then. How splendidly it shines 
when at its nearest approach to the earth may be inferred 
from the fact that in 1719 it was so brilliant as actually to 
cause a panic. This was doubtless owing to its peculiar red- 
ness. I well remember the almost startling appearance which 
the planet presented in the autumn of 1877. Mars is espe- 
cially interesting because of the apparently growing belief 
that it may be an inhabited world, and because of certain 
curious markings on its surface that can only be seen under 
favorable conditions. The recent completion of the great 
Lick telescope and other large glasses, and the approach of 
the planet to a favorable opposition, give reason to hope that 
within the next few years a great deal of light will be cast 
upon some of the enigmatical features of Mars' s surface. 


Jupiter, although much more distant than Mars, is ordi- 
narily a far more conspicuous phenomenon in the sky on 
account of his vast bulk. His interest to observers with an 
opera-glass depends mainly upon his four moons, which, as 
they circle about him, present a miniature of the solar sys- 
tem. With a strong opera-glass 
one or two of Jupiter's little 
family of moons may occa- 
sionally be caught sight of as 
excessively minute dots of 
light half-hidden in the glare 
of the planet. If you succeed 
under favorable circumstances 
in seeing one of these moons 
with your glass, you will be 
all the more astonished to 
learn that there are several juptter and his moons, ^seen with a 

, -, - . ^ Field-glass ; seven diameters.) 

apparently well-authenticated • 

instances of one of the moons of Jupiter having been seen 
with the naked eye. 

With a field-glass, however, you will have no difficulty in 
seeing all of the moons when they are properly situated. If 
you miss one or more of them, you may know that it is either 
between you and the planet, or behind the planet, or buried 
in the planet's shadow, or else so close to the planet as to be 
concealed by its radiance. 

It will be best for the observer to take out of the Nautical 
Almanac the ''configurations of Jupiter's satellites" for the 
evenings on which he intends to make his observations, recol- 
lecting that the position of the whole system, as there given, 
is reversed, or presented as seen with an astronomical tele- 
scope, which inverts objects looked at, as an opera-glass does 
not. In order to bring the satellites into the positions in which 
he will see them, our observer has only to turn the page in the 
Nautical Almanac showing their configurations upside down. 


Of course, since the motions of the satellites, particularly 
of the inner ones, are very rapid, their positions are continu- 
ally changing, and their configurations are different every 
night. If the observer has any doubt about his identification 
of them, or thinks they may be little stars, he has only to 
carefully note their position and then look at them again the 
next evening. He may even notice their motion in the course 
of a single evening, if he begins early and follows them for 
three or four hours. It is impossible to describe the peculiar 
attractions of the scene presented by the great planet and his 
four little moons on a serene evening to an observer armed 
with a powerful glass. Probably much of the impressive- 
ness of the spectacle is owing to the knowledge that those 
little points of light, shining now in a row and now in a clus- 
ter, are actually, at every instant, under the government of 
their giant neighbor and master, and that as we look upon 
them, obediently making their circuits about him, never 
venturing beyond a certain distance away, we behold a type 
of that gravitational mastery to which our own little planet 
is subject as it revolves around its still greater ruler, the sun, 
to whose control even Jupiter in his turn must submit. 

The beautiful planet Saturn requires for the observation 
of its rings magnifying powers far beyond those of the in- 
struments with which our readers are supposed to be armed. 
It would be well, however, for the observer to trace its slow 
motion among the stars with the aid of the Nautical Almanac, 
and he should be able with a good field-glass to see, under 
favorable circumstances, the largest of its eight moons. Titan. 
This is equal in brilliancy to an 8*5 magnitude star. Its po- 
sition with respect to Saturn on any given date can be learned 
from the Ephemeris. 

It may appear somewhat presumptuous to place Uranus, a 
planet which it required the telescope and the eye of a Her- 
schel to discover, in a list of objects for the opera-glass. But 
it must not be forgotten that Uranus was seen certainly sev- 


eral, and probably many, times before HerschePs discovery, 
being simply mistaken, on account of the slowness of its 
motion, for a fixed star. When near opposition, Uranus 
looks as bright as a sixth-magnitude star, and can be easily 
detected with the naked eye when its position is known. 
With an opera-glass (and still more readily with a field-glass) 
this distant planet can be watched as it moves deliberately 
onward in its gigantic orbit. Its passage by neighboring 
stars is an exceedingly interesting phenomenon, and it is in 
this way that you may recognize the planet. 

On the evening of May 29, 1888, I knew, from the co-ordi- 
nates given in the Nautical Almanac, that Uranus was to be 
found a short distance east of Mars, which was then only a 
few degrees from the well-known star Gamma Virginis. Ac- 
cordingly, I turned my opera-glass upon Mars, and at once 
saw a star in the expected position, which I knew was Ura- 
nus. But there were other small stars in the field, and, sup- 
posing I had not been certain which was Uranus, how could I 
have recognized it ? The answer is plain : simply by watching 
for a night or two to see which star moved. That star would, 
of course, be Uranus. The accompanying cuts will show the 
motions of Mars and Uranus with respect to neighboring stars 
at that time, and will serve as an example of the method of 

>Iars and Uranus, May 39, 1888. 3Iars and Uranus, June 1, 1888. 


distinguishing a planet from the fixed stars by its change of 
place. In the first cut we have the two planets and three 

neighboring stars as they ap- 
peared on May 29th. These 
stars were best seen with a 
field-glass, although an opera- 
glass readily showed them. 

On June 1st the relative 
positions of the planets and 
stars were as shown in the sec- 
ond cut. A glance suffices to 
show that not only Mars but 
Uranus also has shifted its po- 

Mars and Uranus, Junk 6, 1888. . . . . , _ , 

sition with respect to the three 
immovable stars. This change of place alone would have 
sufficed to indicate the identity of Uranus. To make sure, 
the inexperienced observer had only to continue his observa- 
tions a few nights longer. 

On June 6th Mars and Uranus were in conjunction, and 
their position, as well as that of the same set of three stars, 
is shown in the third cut. It will be seen that while Mars 
had changed its place very much more than Uranus, yet that 
the latter planet had now moved so far from its original po- 
sition on May 29th, that there could be no possibility that the 
merest tyro in star-gazing would fail to notice the change. 
Whenever the observer sees an object which he suspects to 
be a planet, he can satisfy himself of its identity by making 
a series of little sketches like the above, showing the position 
of the suspected object on successive evenings, with respect 
to neighboring stars. The same plan suffices to identify the 
larger planets, in the case of which no glass is necessary. 
The observer can simply make a careful estimate by the 
naked eye of the supposed planet's distance and bearing 
from large stars near it, and compare them with similar ob- 
servations made on subsequent evenings. 



The Sun. — That spots upon the sun may be seen with no 
greater optical aid than that of an opera-glass is perhaps well 
known to many of my readers, for during the past ten years 
public attention has been drawn to sun-spots in an especial 
manner, on account of their supposed connection with me- 
teorology, and in that time there have been many spots upon 
the solar disk which could not only be seen with an opera- 
glass, but even with the unassisted eye. At present (1888) 
we are near a minimum period of sun-spots, and the number 
to be seen even with a telescope is comparatively very small, 
yet only a few days before this page was written there was a 
spot on the sun large enough to be conspicuous with the aid 
of a field-glass. During the time of a spot-maximum the sun 
is occasionally a wonderful object, no matter how small the 
power of the in- 
strument used in 
viewing it may be. 
Strings of spots of 
every variety of 
shape sometimes 
extend completely 
across the disk. 
Our illustration 
shows the appear- 
ance of the sun, as 
drawn by the au- 
thor on the 1st of 
September, 1883. 
Every one of the 
spots and spot- 
groups there repre- 
sented could be seen with a good field-glass, and nearly all 
of them with an opera-glass. 

As in all such cases, our interest in the phenomena in- 
creases in proportion to our understanding of their signifi- 

Thk Sun, September 1 


cance and their true scale of magnitude. In glancing from 
side to side of the sun' s disk, the eye ranges over a distance 
of more than 860,000 miles — not a mere ideal distance, or an 
expanse of empty space, but a distance filled by an actual 
and, so to speak, tangible body, whose diameter is of that 
stupendous magnitude. One sees at a glance, then, the enor- 
mous scale on which these spots are formed. The earth 
placed beside them would be but a speck, and yet they are 
mere pits in the surface of the sun, filled perhaps with par- 
tially cooled metallic vapors, which have been cast up from 
the interior, and are settling back again. It is worth any- 
body's while to get a glimpse at a sun-spot if he can, for, 
although he may see it merely as a black dot on the shining 
disk, yet it represents the play of physical forces whose 
might and power are there exercised on a scale really be- 
yond human comprehension. The imagination of Milton or 
Dante would have beheld the mouth of hell yawning in a 

In order to view the sun it is, of course, necessary to con- 
trive some protection for the eyes. This may be constructed 
by taking two strips of glass four or five inches long and an 
inch wide, and smoking one of them until you can without 
discomfort look at the sun through it. Then place the two 
strips together, with the smoked surface inside — taking care 
to separate them slightly by pieces of cardboard placed be- 
tween the ends — and fasten the edges together with strips of 
paper gummed on. Then, by means of a rubber band, fasten 
the dark glass thus prepared over the eye-end of your 
opera-glass in such a way that both of the lenses are com- 
pletely covered by it. It will require a little practice to en- 
able you to get the sun into the field of view and keep it 
there, and for this purpose you should assume a posture — 
sitting, if possible — which will enable you to hold the glass 
very steady. Then point the glass nearly in the direction of 
the sun, and move it slowly about until the disk comes in 


sight. It is best to carefully focus your instrument on some 
distant object before trying to look at the sun with it. 

As there is some danger of the shade-glass being cracked 
by the heat, especially if the object-glasses of the instrument 
are pretty large, it would be well to get the strips of glass for 
the shade large enough to cover the object-end of the instru- 
ment instead of the eye-end. At a little expense an optician 
will furnish you with strips of glass of complementary tints, 
which, when fastened together, give a very pleasing view of 
the sun without discoloring the disk. Dark red with dark 
blue or green answer very well ; but the color must be very 
deep. The same arrangement, of course, will serve for view- 
ing an eclipse of the sun. 

A word, finally, about the messenger which brings to us 
all the knowledge we possess of the contents and marvels of 
space — light. Without the all-pervading luminiferous ether, 
narrow indeed would be our acquaintance with the physical 
creation. This is a sympathetic bond by which we may con- 
ceive that intelligent creatures throughout the universe are 
united. Light tells us of the existence of suns and systems 
so remote that the mind shrinks from the attempt to conceive 
their distance ; and light bears back again to them a similar 
message in the feeble glimmering of our own sun. And can 
any one believe that there are no eyes out yonder to receive, 
and no intelligence to interpret that message ? 

Sir Humphry Davy has beautifully expressed a similar 
thought in one of his philosophical romances : 

In Jupiter you would see creatures similar to those in Saturn, 
but with different powers of locomotion ; in Mars and Venus you 
would find races of created forms more analogous to those belong- 
ing to the Earth ; but in every part of the planetary system you 
would find one character peculiar to all intelligent natures, a sense 
of receiving impressions from light by various organs of vision, and 
toward this result you can not but perceive that all the arrange- 
ments and motions of the planetary bodies, their satellites and at- 
mospheres, are subservient. The spiritual natures, therefore, that 


pass from system to system in progression toward power and knowl- 
edge preserve at least this one invariable character, and their intel- 
lectual life may be said to depend more or less upon the influence 
of light.* 

Light is a result, and an expression, of the energy of cos- 
mical life. The universe lives while light exists. But when 
the throbbing energies of all the suns are exhausted, and 
space is filled with universal gloom, the light of intelligence 
must vanish too. 

One can not read the wonderful messages of light — one 
can not study the sun, the moon, and the stars in any manner 
— without perceiving that the physical universe is enormous- 
ly greater than he had thought, and that the creation, of 
which the Earth is an infinitesimal part, is almost infinitely 
more magnificent in actual magnitude than the imaginary 
domain which men of old times pictured as the dwelling- 
place of the all-controlling gods ; without feeling that he has 
risen to a higher plane, and that his intellectual life has 
taken a nobler aim and a broader scope. 

♦ See "Consolations in Travel, or, the Last Days of a Philosopher"; Dia- 
logue I. 


Achernar, 94. 
Albireo {$ Cygni), 55. 
Alcor, 27. 
Alcyone, 102. 

Madler's " Central Sun," 104. 
Aldebaran, 22, 89, 91, 94, 95, 98. 
Algenib (a Persei), 84, 85. 
Algol, the Demon-Star), 83. 

probable cause of variation of, 85. 
Al-Mamoun, the Caliph, observation of a 

temporary star, 35. 
Almaach (7 Andromedas), 79, 82. 
Alphard, 16. 
Alpha Andromedae, 79. 

Agnarii (Sadalmelik), 67. 

Arietis (Hamal), 74. 

Capricorni (Giedi), 65. 

Ceti (Menkar), 70. 

Draconis, formerly the pole-star, 102. 

Librae, 52. 

Ophiuchi (Ras Alhague), 42. 

Orionis (Betelgeuse), 91, 98, 106. 

Pegasi (Markab), 70. 

Ursae Majoris, 28. 
Alpheratz (o Andromedas), 79. 
Alps, the lunar, 135. 
Altai Mountains, 135. 
Altair, 55. 
AndromedaB, map of, 76. 

mythology of, 75. 
Antares, 32,* 33, 98. 
Antinous, 55. 
Apennines, the lunar, 135. 
Apollonius, regarded the moon as a mir- 
ror, 119. 
Aquarius, map of, 64. 

mythology of, 67. 

Aquila, map of, 56. 

mythology of, 55. 
Aratus, description of the Manger, 15. 

the " Diosemia " of, 15. 

the Phenomena of, 20. 

story of Virgo, 51. 

description of the " Royal Family," 78. 

description of Cetus, 70. 
Arcturus, 10, 24, 26, 49, 56. 
Argo, map of, 110. 

mythology of, 115. 
Aries, map of, 71. 

mythology of, 75, 
Ariosto, story of a trip to the moon, 136. 
Aristarchus, the shining mountain, 125. 
Aselli, 15. 
Asterope, 103. 
' Atlas, 102. 
Auriga, map of, 23. 

mythology of, 23. 

star swarms in, 22. 
Autumn, map of the Stars of, 62. 

Bartschius invents Monoceros, 117. 

Bay of Dew, 129. 

Bay of Rainbows, 129. 

Bear's head, stars forming the, 28. 

Bellatrix, 90, 107. 

Belt, Orion's, 90, 107. 

Berenice's Hair, the constellation of, 24. 

picture of, 53. 
Bessel, studies of Sinus a nd Procyon, 20 

letter about "dark stars," 114. 
Beta AndromedaB (Mirach), 79. 

Arietis (Sheratan), 75. 

Capricorni (Dabih), 65. 

Cassiopeia, 74. 



Beta Corvi, 25. 

Cygni (Albireo), 55. 

Librae, 52. 

Leonis (Denebola), 12. 

Lyrae, 50. 

Pegasi, 70. 

Scorpionis, 34. 

Ursae Minoris (Kochab), 27. 
Betelgeuse (o Orionis), 91, 98, 106. , 
Bethlehem, the so-called Star of, 87. 
Biela's comet, it breaks up, 82. 
Biela meteors, radiant point of the, 82. 
Bootes, map of, 50. 

mythology of, 53. 

Calisto, another name of Ursa Major, 29 
Cancer, map of, 18. 

mythology of, 15. 
Canes Venatici, 54. 
Canis Major, map of, 110. 

mythology of, 115. 
Canis Minor, map of, 18. 

mythology of, 21. 
Canopus, 114. 
Capella, 9, 22, 49, 89, 91. 
Cape Heraclides, 129. 

Laplace, 129. 
Capricornus, map of, 64. 

mythology of, 67. 
Cassiopeia, map of, 76. 

mythology of, 75. 
Castor, 17. 
Catharina, 135. 
Caucasus Mountains, 135. 
Celapno, 103. 
Central Gulf, 129. 
"Central Sun," Madler's ideas about a. 

Cepheus, map of, 58, 76. 
Cetus, map of, 71. 

mythology of. 70. 
Chi Ceti, 73. 
Clavius, 124, 132, 133. 
Coal-Sack, 57. 
Comet, Biela's, 82. 

Comet, Halley's, the Crab Nebula mis- 
taken for, 97. 
Constellations, origin of, 6, 42, 61. 

along the Milky- Way, 116. 

the zodiacal, 16. 

Constellations, St. Paul's knowledge of^ 

Copernicus, 136. 
Corvus, map of, 26. 
mythology of, 25. 
"Crimson Star," 110. 
Crisian Sea, 127. 

Cynosura, a name of Ursa Minor, 29, 
Cygnus, map of, 56. 
Cyrillus, 135. 

Dabih (j8 Capricorn i), 65. 

Dark Stars, Bessel's suggestion about, 114. 

Davy, Humphry, on life in other worlds, 

Delta Canis Majoris, 112. 

Cephei, 88. 

Tauri, 99. 
Deltoton, 75. 

Denebola (jS Leonis), 12, 14, 24. 
Dipper, the Great, 10, 27. 
Dog-Days, origin of the, 111. 
Dog-Star, 111. 
Dolphin, map of the, 56. 

mythology of the, 55. 
Draco, map of, 58. 

mythology of, 57. 

El Nath, 22, 97. 
Epsilon Leonis, 12. 

Lyrae, 49. 

Tauri, 99. 

Virginis, 51. 
Equinox, autumnal, 52. 

vernal, 74. 
Eridanus, map of, 93. 
Eta Aquilae, 55. 

Field-glass, 6. 
I Field of the Nebulae, 51. 
Flammarion, on a Capricorni, 65. 
Flood traditions connected with the 

Pleiades, 101, 102. 
Focus, importance of a sharp, 11. 
Fomalhaut, 63/ 
Fontenelle, " Plurality of Worlds," 60. 

Galileo, his telescope an opera-glass, 4. 
his description of Praesepe, 15. 
his description of the moon, 118. 
power of his telescope, 119. 



Gamma Andromedae, 79, 82. 

Leonis, 11. 

Pegasi, 70. 

Tauri, 99. 

Virginis, 51. 
" Garnet Star" (Mu Cephei), 88. 
Gemini, map of, 18. 

mythology of, 19. 
Genesis, a celestial, 68. 
Giedi (a Capricorni), 65. 
Glass, use of smoked or colored, 130, 146. 
Goldschmidt sees a nebula in the Pleiades, 

Gomelza, 20. 

Gore, estimate of the stars in 13 M, 45. 
" Grape-Gatherer " (c Virginis), 51. 
Grensted, Rev. Mr., suggestion about 

lunar rays, 132. 
Grimaldi, 130. 

Halley's comet and Crab Nebula, 97. 

Hamal (o Arietis), 74. 

Haemus Mountains, 128. 

Henry, Paul and Prosper, photographs 

of the Pleiades, 105. 
Hercules, map of, 44. 

mythology of, 45. 

motion of solar system toward, 43. 
Herschel, William, discovers Uranus, 19. 

computation of stars in 13 M, 45. 

advice about seeing star-colors, 88. 

thinks he sees lunar volcano, 125. 

John, description of 8 M, 34. 

suggestion about a Capricorni, 65. 
Holden, Prof., on the Milky- Way, 40. 

structure of Ring Nebula, 105. 
Hooke, discovers first telescopic double 

star, 75. 
Hyades, 89, 95, 98, 99. 
Hydra, map of part of, 26. 

mythology of, 16. 
Hydra's Heart (Alphard), 16. 
Humboldt Sea, 130. 

Jeaurat, chart of the Pleiades, 104. 
Job's coffin, 55. 
Jupiter, 141. 
satellites of, 142. 

Kappa Argus, 116. 
Tauri, 100. 

Kepler observes the star of 1604, 42. 
Kingsley, story of Andromeda, 77. 
" King's lucky star," 67. 
Kochab (Beta Urs8B Minoris), 27. 

Lake of Death, 129. 

of Dreams, 129. 
Land of Drought, 130. 

of Hoar Frost, 130. 
Leo, map of, 12. 

mythology of, 13. 

sickle-shaped figure in, 9, 14. 
Lepus, map of, 93. 
Lick telescope, views of Milky- Way, 40. 

views of Ring Nebula, 105. 
Light, the messenger of the universe, 

in a star-cluster, 45. 
Libra, description and mythology of, 52. 
Life, does it exist beyond the earth ? 37, 

48, 137, 139, 140, 147. 
Locke, Richard Adams, author of the 

" Moon Hoax," 125. 
Lyra, map of, 44. 

mythology of, 45. 

Madler, on the " Central Sun," 104. 

Maginus, 124. 

Maia, 103, 105. 

Man in the Moon, 121. 

Manger (Prsesepe), 15. 

Marine glass, 6. 

Markab (a Pegasi), 70. 

Marsh of Mists, 129. 

of Putrefaction, 129. 

of Sleep, 127. 
Mars, 140. 

Medusa, the head of, 83. 
Menelaus, 128. 
Menkalina, 22. 
Menkar (o Ceti), 70. 
Mercury, 139. 
Merope, 102, 103. 
Mesarthim, 75. 
Meteors, radiant point of November, 11. 

radiant point of Biela, 82. 
Micromegas, the story of, 115. 
Milk-Dipper, 34. 
Milky- Way, 17, 34, 39, 40, 43, 57, 81, 86, 




Mira (o Ceti), 71. 

probable cause of its variations, 72. 
Milton, account of Libra, 52. 
Mirach (/3 Andromedae), 79. 
Mizar, 27. 
Moon, mountains of the, 120. 

shadows on the, 120. 

map of the, 123. 

list of mountains, " seas," etc., 123. 

inhabitableness of the, 136. 

the other side of the, 138. 
« Moon Hoax," 125, 128. 
Monoceros, map of, 110. 
Mu Argus, 116. 

Scorpionis, 36. 

Nebulae (and Star-Clusters) : 
4 M, 34. 

6 M, 37. 

7 M, 37. 

8 M, 38. 
13 M, 45. 

24 M, 38. 

25 M, 39. 
30 M, 66. 

34 M, 86. 

35 M, 18. 

37 M, 23. 

38 M, 23. 
41 M, 112. 
46 M, 116. 
50 M, 117. 
80 M, 35. 
93 M, 116. 
2', 117. 
33', 23. 
388, 116. 

Andromeda, Great Nebula in, 79, 80. 

Aquarius, Nebula in, 68. 

Crab Nebula, 97, 98. 

Field of the Nebula, 51. 

Horseshoe Nebula, 39. 

Orion, Great Nebula in, 107. 

Perseus, Great Cluster in, 86. 

Pleiades, nebulae in the, 104. 

Ring Nebula in Lyra, 50. 
Nebular hypothesis, 68. 
Neison, description of sunrise on Clavius, 

Newton, 134, 

"Nile-Star," 111. 
Northern Cross, 54, 55. 
Northern Crown, map of the, 44. 
Northern Fish, 73, 79. 
Nu Andromedae, 79, 82. 

Aquarii, a pointer to a nebula, 68. 

Canis Ma j oris, 112. 

Draconis, 58. 

Scorpionis, 34. 

Ocean of Storms, 130. 
Omicron Ceti (Mira), 71, 72. 

Cygni, 57. 
Omicron two Eridani, a flying-star, 95. 
Opera-glass, views of the stars with, 3. 

how to choose a good, 4. 

magnifying power of, 4. 

defects of, 5. 
Ophiuchus and Serpens, map of, 41. 

mythology of, 41. 
Orion, map of, 93. 

mythology of, 109. 

great array of stars around, 90. 

riches of, 106. 

spectacle of the rising of, 89. 
Orpheus, fancies about the moon, 119. 

Pegasus, map of, 64. 

mythology of, 69. 
Perseus, map of, 76. 

mythology of, 75. 

great cluster in, 86. 
Phantom, another name of Hercules, 45, 
Photography, astronomical, 3, 105. 
Pi Argus, 116. 

Five Orionis, 109. 

Pegasi, 70. 
Pisces, map of, 71. 

mythology of, 74. 
Piscis Australis, 67. 
Plato, 135. 
Pleiades, 10, 22, 89, 95. 

names of the, 100. 

mythology of, 100. 

and the Flood, 101, 102. 

and the Great Pyramid, 101, 

picture of the, 103, 

common motion of the, 104. 
Pleione, 102, 103. 
Pole-star, 10, 26. 




Pollux, 17. 

Praesepe (the Manger), 15. 

Prime Meridian, 74. 

Proclus, 127. 

Procyon, 9, 30. 

Pyramid of Cheops and the Pleiades, 101. 

Pyrenees Mountains, 128. 

Ras Alhague (a Ophiuchi), 42. 

Rays of the Moon, 131. 

Regulus, 9, 11. 

Revolution of the heavens, 7, 30, 

Rho Ophiuchi, 33. 

Rigel, 91, 94, 98, 108. 

Ring Nebula, 50. 

" Royal Family," 63, 75. 

Rutherford, photograph of the moon, 122. 

Sadalmelik (a Aquarii), 67. 
Sagitta, map of, 56. 
Sagittarius, map of, 34. 

mythology of, 34. 
Saiph, 90. 
Saturn, 142. 
Scorpio, map of, 34. 

mythology of, 32. 

pair of stars in sting of, 37. 
Schickhard, 130. 
Sea of Clouds, 130. 
Sea of Cold, 129, 
Sea of Fertility, 127. 
Sea of Humors, 130. 
Sea of Nectar, 128. 
Sea of Serenity, i28. 
Sea of Showers, 129. 
Sea of Tranquillity, 127. 
Sea of Vapors, 129. 
Secehi, Father, types of the stars, 106. 

description of a star-swarm, 39. 
Seiss, Rev. Dr., on Canis Minor, 21. 

description of Auriga, 23. 
Sheratan ()3 Arietis), 75. 
Sidus Ludovicianum, 27. 
Sirius, 9, 22, 91. 

color of. 111. 

size and distance of, 112. 

the companion of, 21, 114. 

its light compared with the sun's, 46. 
Sigma Tauri, 99. 
Sixty-one Cygni, 56. 

Smyth, Admiral, on Capricorn, 67. 

description of Aldebaran, 98. 

description of 35 M, 18. 
Solstice, summer, 16, 19. 

winter, 38. 
Sobieski's Shield, 39. 
Solar system, voyaging of, in space, 43. 
Southern Cross, 91, 116. 
South Sea, 130. 
Spectroscopic analysis, 3, 98. 
Spica, 10, 24, 26, 51. 
Spring, map of the stars of, 8. 
Square of Pegasus, 69. 
St. Paul, acquainted with the constella- 
tions, 19. 
Star-Clusters {see Nebulae, etc.). 
Star-Cluster, light in a, 45. 
Summer, map of the stars of, 31. 
Sun, opera-glass observations of the, 145. 

the, a variable star, 72. 
Sword of Orion, 107. 

Taurus, map of, 93. 

mythology of, 102. 

the " Golden Horns " of, 96. 

Poniatowskii, 42. 
Tau Aquarii, 68. 
Taygeta, 103. 
Temporary stars : 

134 B. c. the first on record, 35. 
393 A. D., 35. 
827, 35. 

1203, 35. 

1572, Tycho's star, 87. 

1578, 36. 

1604, 36, 42. 

1860, 35, 81. 

1885, 80. 
Temple, discovers a nebula in the Plei- 
ades, 104. 
Tennyson, describes the Pleiades, 105. 
Theophilus, 135. 
Theta Orionis, 107. 

Serpentis, 43. 

Tauri, 99. 
Tobias Mayer, sees the planet Neptune, 69 » 
Triangles, m^p of the, 71. 

mythology of, 75. 
Twenty-two Canis Majoris, 112. 

Scorpii, 33. 



Tyeho Brahe, invents Antinous, 55. 

places Hamal in Aries, 75. 

studies the star of 1572, 87. 
Tycho, 122, 131. 

Upsilon Tauri, 100. 
Uranus, discovery of, 19. 

how to find, 142. 
Ursa Major, map of, 27. 

mythology of, 28. 

stars in the feet of, 28. 
Ursa Minor, map of, 27. 

mythology of, 28. 

Vega, 49. 

Venus, mistaken for artificial light, 2. 

opera-glass observation of, 139. 
Virgil, description of Taurus, 96. 
Virgo, map of, 50. 

mythology of, 51. 
Vision, seeing with averted, 13. 

Voltaire, story of " Micromegas," 115. 
Vulpecula, map of, 56. 

Webb, Rev. T. W., on telescopes, 5. 

on 35 M, 18. 
Western Fish, 73. 
Winter, brilliancy of the heavens in, 91. 

map of the stars of, 92. 
Woman in the Moon, 121. 

Zeta Corvi, 25. 

Cassiopeia, 86. 

Leonis, 11. 

LyraB, 50. 

Scorpionis, 36. 

Tauri, a pointer to the Crab Nebula, 97. 
Zi Argus, 116. 
Zodiac, 16. 

Zodiac, divided among the Twelve Apos- 
tles, 86. 

of Dendera, 14. 
Zollner, estimate of Sirius's light, 46. 




AUG 1 9 1983 



Physical 5( 
Applied Sci